After years of battling the ugly shadows of depression and grief, Ada Ameh has finally passed on. The Nollywood actress was pronounced dead on Monday, at the age of 48. She died at a hospital in Delta state where she was rushed after slumping.
Grief is a wound to the soul that never heals. Its tentacles of sadness continuously shuffle one with a gallery of memories to reinforce loneliness. It’s a dark space that flirts with one’s mind by juggling images of what was and what is. And Ameh fought bravely against its cascade of bitterness as she lost six siblings and her father within the space of a few years. But, according to her, everything came crumbling down when her only child — a girl — died in 2020. The dam of black wings broke and it swept her mental health down south.
The ever-smiling, bubbly Ameh that warmed the hearts of millions as ‘Emu’ in ‘The Johnsons’, the Nigerian popular TV series, became weighed down by depression to the point when she had to exclaim: “it is taking my life.”
FROM ‘MUMMY AND DADDY’ PLAY TO NOLLYWOOD
Ameh was born in Lagos on May 15, 1974, to a father from Benue and a mother from Akwa Ibom. She grew up at the naval barracks in Ajegunle. Ajuma, a former Super Falcons midfielder, was one of her sisters.
In a 2016 interview, Ameh said her interest in acting began as a child doing “mama and papa play.”
“I recall that as children, we used to gather ourselves after school and engage in all those plays we categorise as mama and papa play, where someone will be asked to play the dad and I will play the mum and so on,” she had said.
Her professional acting career kicked off in 1996 after Zeb Ejiro, the Nollywood producer, starred her in ‘Domitilla.’
She would go on to feature in numerous Nollywood movies like ‘V Boot’, ‘Aki na Ukwa,’ ‘Phone Swap’, and ’30 Days in Atlanta’ among others.
Her role in ‘The Johnson’ made her a household name across the country.
BECOMING A MOTHER AT 14
In 2021, the actress revealed that she became a mother at 14.
She said after giving birth, she was thrown into the streets, where she began indulging in alcoholism and her “newly found freedom.”
“It wasn’t my parents. My peers influenced me. They introduced me to early sex. One thing led to another, and I got pregnant,” Ameh had said.
“I got pregnant in March, and I had my baby in December the same year. That means I got pregnant when I was 13+.
“The most beautiful part is that, on my 15th birthday, my baby was barely five months old. I was marched out of the Barracks.”
GRIEF, MENTAL HEALTH AND DEPRESSION
In 2020, Ameh lost Aladi Godgift, her daughter, after an unsuccessful surgery in Abuja. The loss quickened the actress’ descent into depression.
The death of her daughter was sadly the eighth time the actress would be burying a relative within years.
She was wrecked by the chain of losses and constantly returned to her daughter’s grave on each anniversary of her death to honour Aladi.
“I had max depression. I’ve been depressed for some years and it became very worse when I lost my daughter in 2020. We practically grew up together — I was 14 when I had her — and she was my best friend. My world crumbled when I lost her,” she had said.
“I had three of my sisters and three of my brothers and my father before that time. Then my daughter died and sometimes, I could cry for days.”
In June, Ameh shared a video on her Instagram page wherein she narrated how the mental health issue had affected her to the point she could not deliver a client’s job.
She further said she was being sued by the client for breach of contract.
“I have an issue right now and it’s taking my life, but I won’t die. We would get over it. I was given a job, but I didn’t do it because I have mental health issues,” she had said.
“Would people understand when say you have mental issues? No, they wouldn’t. They are slamming me with a bill, suing me but it’s okay.”
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