“For me as a kid growing up I never really felt like I belonged anywhere in the world… I felt like no one really wanted me around.”
Well, My name is Tim Nagel and I’m 22 years old. I was born in a town down the bottom of the North Island, called Levin. My childhood and upbringing consisted a lot around instability, neglect, violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol…
For me, as a kid growing up I never really felt like I belonged anywhere in the world… I felt like no one really wanted me around. I was the kid that felt lonely pretty much the majority of the time, even when people were around. You see I didn’t have a mother growing up… My mother had already neglected me when I was only a few months old, leaving my dad to make a decision to take me in as his own or not. So of course my dad didn’t abandon me then, my dad tried to raise me up. (He just doesn’t know that later on in my life, I also felt like he neglected me for so many years…until now. Especially when I needed him the most in some areas of my life.)
And so for six years, from when I was a baby to age 6, everything seemed to be okay, until dad became stressed and also met my step mum.
That’s when violence erupted in the household. I didn’t understand why dad was all of a sudden being so violent and angry towards me. My step mum would do the same as well when the family wasn’t around. I remember once seeing my Nana getting dragged out of the house as well as many other things. I also remember seeing my baby brother James being dropped on the corner of the coffee table and there was blood everywhere. This incident led to a lot of hurt and pain coming into our family for many years until James later died because of this incident.
I went into CYFS care for many years and was placed in more than 35-40 households during this time. This has led to instability and me not being able to learn the natural social skills I needed in life to live. I got caught up in trouble when I was 16 when I tried meeting my mother. I was caught up in a very serious situation, which led me to be locked up in prison for 2 years and 8 months.
Enough of that, the reason I came to Tai Wātea to complete this programme was that my ex-partner had just recently cheated on me. I got so depressed and I tried committing suicide. This was the week before Tai Wātea started.
If I hadn’t done this course, I probably would either be in a very bad state right now or dead. Before this programme, I was stuck in a dark cloud and couldn’t see a way out. I was existing, but not living. I had survived my suicide attempt and was physically still alive, but mentally and spiritually I was dead.
“It’s helped me understand my feelings inside and how to not bottle them up or mask them up. It’s taught me self worth.”
This course has led me to understand myself and where I come from. It’s helped me understand my feelings inside and how to not bottle them up or mask them up. It’s taught me self worth. I’ve learnt to let go of my past and to forgive people. The programme has also given me a sense of my life.
I am now going down south in a few weeks and have the opportunity for a new job and to start afresh. I am so much stronger now. I am persevering now. I will never give up again as I did before. I am so thankful to still be alive. I have a dream to study psychology and help others who are struggling with mental health. I even want to set up my own way to support those who are in crisis because the current mental health system in our country just isn’t working. I know this because I nearly died. Things could be done so much better – I want to use my own experience and help others heal.
So I would like to say a big thanks to everyone involved in this programme for giving me the chance and saving my life.