Veteran Nollywood actress, Nse Ikpe-Etim is one of the most successful stars in the last decade but she has been on the grind since she was a teenager.
Earlier this month, the award-winning actress held an event “Conversations with Nse” where she opened up on being diagnosed with Adenomyosis, a medical condition in which the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus.
She was then advised to get a hysterectomy. “My world had crumbled. I had died a million times. It was something,” she said in an exclusive interview with BellaNaija‘s Mercy Akamo and IK Nwosu.
She’s choosing to speak up now because it’d help others and it has also helped in completing her healing.
“It seems like I’m the only one that has this issue. It’s fine. Make me the poster child. It’s fine! My point is, would it help someone else? Yes! Has it helped me? Yes! And I choose me, and I choose life and that’s what it is,” she says.
The journey to healing was tough, she said. “I think the only reason I’m holding back on saying how long the struggle has been leading up to this point is because, it’s too harrowing to go through. It’s not just the physical pain, but the emotional, psychological pain. Everything.”
She continued: “But I don’t know how I’m thankful for it. It makes me who I am today. It was tough, but that moment when I knew that I wasn’t going to have children again and the doctor recommended a hysterectomy, my world had crumbled. I had died a million times. It was something.”
Nse got married in 2014 to her high school sweetheart Clifford Sule who she reconnected with years later.
Clifford has been more than supportive to her as they went through the trying times, including when she mentally quit acting and continuously put herself down. Now she’s healing and is ready to live her life to the fullest.
“(Clifford) is an extremely private person so I don’t like talking about him in public. This I’ve done? (Talking about him publicly) I know what it’s done to him. But he understands the larger picture and he knows it’s freedom for me,” she said.
She continued: The healing cycle has just been complete. So now, I’m ready. I’m ready to do my work. I’m ready to go back to work. I quit! Mentally, I had quit. It was over! Because society said so? That’s not right. It took a lot to get here. Constant waking me up at 3am to remind me that “You’re never happy unless you’re working”.
I quit acting! And I never said anything that I took a break, so each time something came up, I wasn’t really interested and that’s what depression does to you. You see nothing good about yourself. I’m speaking up because I know that people go through these things. And you must get out of it. Try, speak to someone. It’s real, it happens. Find something in you to give you strength to move on.
You see, I don’t like saying “my husband”. My friend, kept pushing. The only reason I don’t talk about him, I needed to preserve his privacy and I think he deserves it.
Nse’s family was also there for her too, giving her the needed support.
“If I have to come back to the world, it’ll be the same family. Everyone’s so cool. My mother? Pillar of strength. With my sisters, the bond is too good to be true. We fight hard, we argue about a lot of things but is there love? Yes. Is there light? Yes. And that’s all that really matters,” she said.