What started out as a simple idea to boost one person’s self-esteem, mental health and resilience has grown. The project is now on the verge of becoming a non-profit organisation with the hope of helping others.
The main idea behind the project is to help people, especially children that have become the target of bullying behaviour by building their self-worth, resilience and mental health. The founder Spencer Timson describes his story and what brought him to start all this below
My name is Spencer Timson and my back story is in 3 very different parts and I will do my best to go over them each in turn – they are meant to explain a little about how I arrived at this project.
I don’t exactly remember how or when the bullying started but there are key times and situations that are very clear to me. It seemed that from a very early age I became an easy target for those wanting to pick on or tease others. Sometimes it was better, sometimes worse but throughout my school years I was a bit of walk over and as such was an easy target for bullies.
If anyone has ever been the target of bullies or had to deal with bullying behaviour they will know too well the sort of effect it can have – particularly if it was happening in the early years of your life, it shaped me into the adult I became and it made a lasting impression on my life.
Fear, anxiety, self-doubt, self-hatred, worthlessness are all common feelings associated with being bullied – I can associate with all of them.
It took me many years to face up to what I’d lived with and to be honest I’m still ‘work in progress’ to this day!
In November 2002 I was convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison.
In April of that year I went to pick up 2 friends who had been having a celebration drink after finishing the local football season and ended up staying after hours myself. Instead of walking home I foolishly decided that as we were only travelling around 2 miles I would be ok to drive myself and 2 friends back from the local village pub. On the way home I crashed the car and the resulting accident claimed the life of my best friend who had been in the back seat of the car.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the incident and the death of my friend, I had never done anything like that before and cannot express how remorseful I am for what I caused that night.
During my time in prison I tried to use my time as best I could and it was there that I first found my interest in health and fitness – previous to this I had never been fit and struggled with my weight for most of my life. I began to go to the gym when I could and found I enjoyed it so much that when I was moved to a lower category prison I put my name down to take as many qualifications as possible relating to health and fitness. I went on to take and pass BWLA leader award, CSLA and CYQ level 1 gym instructor and circuit’s instructor – this was the most we could do at the time, but it acted as a springboard to further qualifications and eventual employment upon my release.
Being responsible for the death of someone, especially my best friend is something that is with me always. I can never make amends for what happened, but I can perhaps make a difference to others. If people are shocked by what happened in my past then I hope it in some way may prevent them from making a similar mistake or make them think twice in a situation that could lead to be so catastrophic.
It took me a very long time to get help for the various issues I had. I’d tried the normal route of medication from the GP for depression and trying to sort myself out via various self-help books, giving myself a good talking to etc. Nothing worked – the feelings I had and how I visualised my life stayed the same.
Eventually, and with the direct push from my girlfriend, I came to realise that the mess I was in was not going to fix itself and if I wanted to make sense of my experiences and to see if I could move on with my life I needed to contact a therapy provider. Like a lot of people, I’d always seen therapy as nothing more than a place to go in which you go over the crappy parts of your life and I wrongly dismissed it as not a worthwhile route to fixing the growing issues I was having. I was wrong – very wrong.
A few months before beginning the therapy sessions I started the NTCZ project. Initially with the idea to improve my self-esteem and confidence. Looking back, it had started building as an idea in my head a few years before as I’d decided to set myself a charity 101 mile nonstop stand up paddle. I didn’t have the main NTCZ idea focused at that time, nor did I have any idea how it would pan out but I knew taking myself into uncomfortable situations would see me having to face demons, build resilience and fingers crossed improve my self-confidence and general wellbeing.
As much as those challenges tested me I would say that it was the pairing of both the physical stuff I was doing AND the talking sessions that were the key to me not only getting better but realising that I could maybe build the project in to something more.
Fast forward to now and NTCZ Is set up to be non-profit, the focus of NTCZ is to try and take my life experiences and if in any way possible, use them in a positive way. If, as an organisation the NTCZ can help and possibly change the direction of just one person then it will be a success.