Posted by News Express | 2 June 2013 | 8,163 times
Ifesinachi Ugwuonye, a Nigerian divorcee living in the USA who has been waging a war against her mother and family on the Internet, has wept and pleaded for forgiveness, according to a family statement.
The statement issued on behalf of the Ugwuonye Family of Enugu State in South-East Nigeria by Mr. Asimonye Ugwuonye blamed Ifesinachi’s behavior on “acute bipolar disorder.”
The statement entitled “Ifesinachi Ugwuonye’s Family Issues A Statement In Response To Her Comments”, says as follows:
We, the brothers and entire family members of Ifesinachi Ugwuonye, have been deeply disturbed by the recent breakdown in her health conditions, which led to her recent Internet outbursts and unfortunate mass-emailing. We have deliberated and consulted among ourselves and with some members of our extended family over this matter. Even without some of us reading Ifesinachi’s written comments, we all understood the nature of her statements because we have heard and seen worse things from her all these years. We therefore feel it necessary to issue this statement to the public to solicit sympathy and understanding for her and for her actions.
We are seven children, and Ifesinachi is one and the only sister in the family. We love her without reservations. We love her two children without reservations. As her family, we have struggled with her health conditions, which have been characterized by hallucinations or delusional beliefs (e.g. delusions of persecution by family members) all as a result of an acute bipolar disorder that has ravaged her nearly all her life. Though that sickness is completely controllable if diagnosed and treated, it could be dangerous when left untreated, as has been the case with our sister lately. By the very nature and definition of this sickness, on the surface, the untreated patient could appear perfectly normal and even seem to be the best human being you would ever meet. Yet, on close and sustained contact, the reality is much different. For Ifesinachi, it has been a struggle between extremes of moods and frequent loss of contact with reality. It is a problem that our family has struggled with quietly since she was a child. Unfortunately, by the very nature of her sickness, she does not always have the capacity to restrain herself.
As for the false allegations against other members of the family and our poor mother, we bear absolutely no anger toward her. Indeed, we can’t hold these things against her. Our position is akin to the embarrassment you feel if you see your sick relative dance naked in the market place after you’ve spent years hoping to cure her before the world might become aware of her true conditions. We shall not and we would not deny her now. It is our responsibility to continue to try, as much as possible, to get her to treatment. Bear in mind that it has not been easy because she is an adult and there has not yet occurred a basis for involuntary commitment.
If Ifesinachi actually had complete control over her thoughts and statements, we are certain she would not have written those baseless things. Neither would she have tried to use the Orange County police to throw our mother out of her house, after our mother had baby-sat and raised her child for four years all as a gesture of love towards her grandchild. In fact, in the extreme mood-swings that characterize her conditions, she already apologized to the family more than five times since her last outburst. Within a few hours after she wrote that infamous email, she called one of our relatives and wept relentlessly on the phone, pleading for forgiveness and repeatedly saying that she did not know what became of her. In fact, if it were not that there is her email for her to see, she seems to have no recollection that she wrote those statements. Our family has lived with her conditions for over forty years. The only thing new is that we now have the Internet, which has come to take the place of the traditional market square, and what used to be verbal outbursts and fits of mood crisis all those years could now occur on the Internet that reach the world instantaneously.
The problem is quite obvious, as could be seen so clearly in the fact that she refers to herself with the titles of “Chief” and “Dr.” even though she really has no credible basis to assume such titles. In the same vein, she claims to have built a house or bought a land in Enugu that was to have been taken away from her. Also, in similar fantasy world, she claimed to have been the one that trained Emeka, her own elder brother who actually taught her in high school. She has also claimed to have been raised by a mermaid that picked her up in the bush. Similarly, she believes that her own mother and the mother of her last husband have conspired to poison her daughter (their grandchild). As a result, she won’t let the 7-year-old girl speak with any of her grandparents. All these are the hallucinations that go with her condition. For these reasons, we don’t feel the need to go into the details of the various outrageous and fantastic claims she made on the Internet.
On the other hand, we state that we are happy and proud of our mother, who single-handedly raised us from nothing to what we (including Ifesinachi, apart from her sickness) have become today. Our mother has every reason to be respected by the world. A widow in the village of Enugu, Nigeria, was able to raise six boys and one girl, one of whom attended Harvard Law School, another became a medical doctor with specialty in psychiatry, another became an engineer and businessman, another became a company executive, another became an entrepreneur and the last child is a post-graduate student, while Ifesinachi herself was trained from a village secondary school, all the way to a point where she could attend a graduate school in France and America. In the circumstances, it is easy to understand that all that Ifesinachi wrote recently must be a product of her sickness.
Rather than feel anger toward Ifesinachi, we acknowledge the personal struggles and occasional triumphs she has waged against what is a tricky illness. Despite extremely difficult beginning, she managed through bouts of psychosis to make it through elementary and secondary school education and onto the university, with all the help we could give. She has great energy and determination whenever she is able to stay normal and focused. Given the circumstances, we actually believe that Ifesinachi deserves commendation and encouragement, and not criticism or harsh judgment. For this reason, we, as a family, have never attempted to blame or condemn her for the harm her actions have caused some of us that are close to her – starting with our beloved mother, our senior brother and the three gentlemen that have been her husbands at various points in time; as well as some family friends whom she has sought to tarnish in her wild claims and statements.
We hope that all those familiar with these events, particularly those eager to come to the defence of the family against Ifesinachi, would realize that our primary objective is to continue to explore ways to help her get the right medical attention that she needs. We are not interested in fighting her or discrediting her, however temping such objective may be. Our family will appreciate your understanding, while we continue to commit the matter to prayers and genuine search for lasting remedies for this unfortunate situation. Finally, we thank all our friends who have shown so much respect and kindness to us in the manner they have responded to this matter.
•Photo shows Ifesinachi Ugwuonye.
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