Kaspars Roznieks, Riga, Latvia

As a young child I grew up in small town of Latvia. Sincere people, beautiful houses, nature, friends and freedom. All day I used to play outside, spend time with friends, ride my BMX bike, swim in the lake and enjoy my time. I remember my early childhood as very beautiful.
My life changed and thought time started when my family experienced financial difficulties and we had to move to capital city. I had to leave my school, my friends, bike, environment and my own room. Big city kids seemed shallow. Different interests and set of values ruled here. This is the time I got in first fights.

Mom worked from early mornings till late evenings. Dad couldn’t cope with his life. I was missing mum’s love and father as a role model. I jumped in grown-up’s life too fast.
It was at this time that I first experienced panic attacks and depression.
Externally I was joyful and communicative but internally often I was ruined. I lived a lot in my internal imagination world. Always thought about future when everything will be alright. I felt different from the other kids. I read and drew a lot.

I was doing sports and studied well. But without receiving appreciation and support from my family my grades became terribly bad and sport no longer seemed important.
Depression was always next to me, I tried to fight it many ways but when something bad happened, my depression flared up too.

Like first love. Just like for most people my first love also ended badly. But for me it was a catastrophe. I imagined various scenarios that if I had come from a wealthier family, then it would all have ended differently. I compared myself to more successful peers who had gotten further in life because their parents supported them.

Another way I fought my depression was trough parties and party drugs. I fell in love with the feeling to be free from anxieties and just being happy. At that time, I did not realize that the feeling comes from within and that the drugs just squeezes out all your serotonin and dopamine in extremely short space of time, and that you have to “pay” for it later.

When I finished college. I reached a feeling that I am close to my goal – good life. But when I didn’t get the desired job, depression returned. I kind of understood what I have to do next but I had no strength. It seemed I’m always close to my luck but I will never reach it.

One of the turning points in my life is meeting my therapist. Therapy helped me see how normally people should feel like. Since than I have been working with myself to become a person who I am today and so that I never returned to depression. I know that I am the only one responsible for my life and my destiny is only in my hands. During depression main word for me was HOPE. But now I understood that faith is THAT word, not HOPE that everything will be fine, but FAITH that even if it’s not going to be alright, I will make it. I could have never committed a suicide because I could not have done it to my family. But I had many moments in my life when my behavior was suicidal and I did not care if I die. Many times, I had put myself into real danger and some of those times I was just a few hours away from the end of my life.I am grateful for what has happened to me, because I love what I have become now, I’m no longer that person. It was all just an experience that made me the man I am now. And now I love my life. And I have wonderful people around me. I am strong, brave and I have a feeling that no circumstances can break me. My life is not all sunshine and rainbows, and I have had few more hard hits in life which in the past would definitely have destroyed me completely, but now I am a different man. We all go through our own hell, and some become stronger and better while others break and lead themselves to bigger problems. You have to get up and keep going no matter how hard it seems. My drugs and antidepressant right now are sports – I do boxing, yoga, travel, motorcycle and spending time with my son. I’m still aware that my brain works differently than others’. I think too much and worry too much about future, and I am irreparable perfectionist. However, being aware of this is useful as it helps me to use this to my advantage. I understand and accept that this is a part of me.