Interview with Mike Guijt

An enormous amount of tasks, but no love

Little Mike was given too much responsibility by his parents, but not enough love. His mother was afraid of the streets and Mike Guijt was more or less alone. At 37 he turned out to have ADHD and that changed his world. The biggest change? Slowly he got a grip on himself and learned to love his sons. The love he had missed himself, he could now pass on to his sons.

Let’s start with Mike’s childhood. The relationship between Mike and his parents was mediocre to say the least. The little boy was not encouraged to make a living, his parents were emotionally absent, he wasn’t part of any sports and other hobbies or interests were not stimulated either. He did have to do a lot of chores at home. The reason? His mother was terrified of the street. Mike had to do many tasks while classmates played around. That went without saying, but he never experienced gratitude or love for all he did.

Mike was a special person, but he had never been diagnosed. He had a wife, 2 sons, but until they were 6 or 7 years old, he couldn’t be there for them. At home, Mike was always tired and had to sleep. Sleeping a lot. He never played with his children, his children had an absent father. At the age of 37 he was diagnosed with ADHD and that changed a lot. The diagnosis even changed his life.

Mike started using speed to get himself under control. In retrospect, his substance use was a form of self-medication. The effect? Instead of a working and sleeping dad, his kids saw a different version. An active father. Someone who played. A father who gave love to his children and played sports with them. For the first time in his life, his sons said they loved their father. Yet drug use also had its disadvantages, because it would not be healthy in the long run. Fortunately, a doctor eventually gave him medication, which allowed him to be an active father, but not to use drugs. This doctor assured him that he was not alone.

Unfortunately, life had another nasty surprise in store for Mike. He had an affair, which he later deeply regretted, but this resulted in a divorce. He was bullied at work, he lost his job. His divorce and job loss caused a lot of stress. Financial and emotional problems caused him to lose his home. He let his ex-wife live in their house with their sons, but he lost everything himself. His job, his new girlfriend and therefore a roof over his head. He had lost everything.

Homelessness was a fact in December 2018. He sought help from authorities, but ran into a wall of bureaucracy. He had to sell his car, in which he slept, but they told the municipality to sell it. But how could he get to his children, the youngest of whom has had severe diabetes since birth? The bureaucracy drove Mike crazy. He was desperate. Homeless shelters were not given to him, but an alternative was not given either. For example, Mike dragged himself from frustration to setbacks for 9 months and lived in his car.

At the height of his homelessness, he had no money to buy food and drink. In desperation, he stole something from a gas station. His problems got bigger and bigger. Mike didn’t want to live anymore and wanted to end his suffering. He made 2 suicide attempts.

Yet eventually there were also bright spots. As a distraction he threw himself into his new own company: making wooden logos. A passion. There was also a limited income and shelter. He was tolerated in a business building, so that he slept safely and dry again.

How’s Mike doing now? The most important thing for him is that his relationship with his sons has remained good. He enjoys little things in life, such as taking pictures and or a trip to the forest with his sons. He loves his sons and those feelings are reciprocated. He considers the mother of his children a good friend. He has cleaned up his past. He repaid his debt to the entrepreneur where he stole something. The man wouldn’t take the money at first, but Mike insisted. A deal is a deal with Mike because he has his heart in the right place.

Mike says he enjoys seeing his children and is happy with what he has now. Although his situation is far from rosy. His faith in fellow human beings has also taken a serious blow. “As a homeless person, I was on my own. Nobody could or would help me. It seems as if no one has time for someone else, that has hurt me a lot. I wanted so badly to get out of the pit, but no one helped me. I was on my own, no one had time. That gave an incredibly bad feeling ”

The Everyday People Foundation sees that more and more people like Mike reside within the Netherlands. The number of homeless people has doubled in the last 10 years. That is a shocking figure. Of course, every person has a responsibility to take care of himself and his family. But when life goes against the grain, due to a combination of illness, divorce and debt, we have to be there for people. In the form of shelter, but also by offering concrete help and perspective.

We are all human. And when everyday people experience unusual problems, they deserve our love and support

This is also the reason that Mike is now a sponsor for Everyday People. We are very grateful to Mike for this. For every product that Mike sells, he donates 25% to the foundation.

Check out Carved Art for the products. Will you help?