I was not sure where else to post this. It's sort of related to legal stuff but also other things such as health. I moved here eight years ago as a student and promptly went through what I now suspect was a nervous breakdown. I left my university course, spent years getting messed up on various substances, and slowly let my life collapse around me. I worked a few shitty jobs, but right now I'm struggling to get by with freelance writing and web design (it's all starting to come together - I've got clients, a growing reputation, etc, I just need a few months to get everything up and running).
I'm now at a stage where I need to rebuild, and I need guidance on various aspects of this. First things first, I'm no longer registered anywhere, and I desperately need some kind of financial support to get me out of this mess I'm in. Right now I have about 50 euros left after paying my rent every month.... so, any guidance on these matters would be appreciated.
But, I also need to get professional help to sort out my psychological problems. I don't have medical insurance, and I can't see me getting it any time soon given how bad my finances are. Advice on this would be hugely appreciated, as I feel that without a strong network of support my life could easily go back downhill again, and I'm determined not to let that happen.
Thanks for reading,
Dear Jade, I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling so low. *virtual hug*
First of all, GO TO THE GEMEENTE. They will put you in touch with the local support teams. The gemeente is the first place to call with financial issues. They do emergency cash loans or grants, and will help you avoid debt and improve your financial situation if they can. They can get you onto the rent-controlled housing list (with huurtoeslag), maybe as an emergency: then you might afford to eat! It is also step one on the ladder for financial support, both personal and, if needed, for small businesses.
But it's not the only step. One thing I can say is there are support groups for everything here. They aren't faultless - occasionally the communication chains falter - but generally they are good.
Which area do you live in? I (and maybe others) will try to help you find your local social work agency (don't be scared by the name because they just don't have an equivalent word in other countries/languages!) For example, if you are in Amstelveen, then it would be http://www.vitawelzijnenadvies.nl/. There are other groups for immigrants, support for women, etc etc. They are genuinely there to help you improve your life in all ways: even the gemeente-small-business-advisors-who-do-the-business-loans to ZZPers are named social workers). But I bet you 10 euros you can find this information out yourself - start with the gemeente-gids, walk into a gemeente and pick one up ffrom the display shelves. Or, use the internet to find the local gemeente website. Look for the WMO loket first - this stands for wonen, welzijn, onderwijs, werk, zorg en inkomen (housing, wellbeing, education, work, care, and income).
Incidently, I think it's fantastic that you have your own business; I can only imagine the determination and whole range of personal qualities it takes to make a success of starting a business in a foreign country! Not to mention courage....
On a personal level, you can also find support groups if you just need friends, but often there are some quite matricarchal characters in these who can be a very mixed blessing, so beware. I suspect that you're under 30 and so if you just want to unwind with people your own age, try looking for meetup groups (you don't have to go to the expensive venues, just the 'walks' or outside venues, and perhaps you can find some good expat friends that way).
Hey Osita, Thanks so much for your reply!
It's nice to hear some words of encouragement :)
I think my first port of call will be the gemeente, as you said. I've just been scared to go and tell them that I've been living here for so long without being registered or having insurance etc. But I guess they can't exactly arrest me for it or anything lol.
Social workers don't seem scary to me at all; in fact my family had a lot of support from such organizations when I was younger, for various reasons, and I would be really happy to have someone who is trained to sort out lives to give me a bit of guidance. I live right in the centrum (getting this place was a godsend, I hope I can hang on to it!), so I'm sure there must be a lot of help available in the area.
As for friends, I do have quite a few (well, mostly acquaintances really), but I hate heaping my problems on them, and I feel recently I've been doing so much of it that I should just see people less. Bit of a vicious circle I suppose. Anyway that's why having someone professional to talk to would be better as I wouldn't have to feel bad about saying what's on my mind. Also, much as they'd like to help, my friends are mostly minimum-wage types who struggle themselves, and have enough of their own problems without hearing about mine all day long! Pretty much all me and my good friend talk about when we meet is how shitty our lives our, it's not positive after a while even if it's good to vent. Anyway thanks again for reading and responding, I already feel a bit better :)
Hi jade, Did you use medicin? I happen to have a relative who got his life from extremely successful to extremely unsuccessful due to a series of miscalculation and over expectation. I did spend a lot of time with him, so I understand how it feels to go through it. All the bests to you