REAL CHATS with Erica Schwartz

REAL CHATS with Erica Schwartz

Erica is a 31 year old woman living in Minnesota. She has battled mental illness for over half of her life. After being diagnosed with clinical depression in the early years of high school, her diagnosis was changed to Bipolar 2 after college due to symptom changes and ineffective medications and therapy. Her diagnosis again changed to Borderline Personality Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder after two in-patient hospital stays in the summer of 2015. She is currently doing well emotionally thanks to medication changes, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and a willingness to make her life one that is worth living. She started Warrior for Hope ( to encourage others that there is hope in the midst of having a mental illness.

PROJECT 375: What does your perfect day look like?

Erica: My perfect day is a day that is full of sunshine! I love hot weather and the sun shining in my face! My depression tends to get worse in the winter, so I try to take full advantage of the spring and summer weather in Minnesota.

PROJECT 375: What is your favorite movie?

Erica: It’s a tie between Miracle, about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, and Remember the Titans.

PROJECT 375: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Erica: In 5 years I see myself still maintaining my mental illness recovery, hopefully being married and maybe even starting a family. My biggest goal in life is to help others, so as long as I am able to have a platform to do so, I will be happy. 

PROJECT 375: If you could only take three items with you to a deserted island, what would they be?

Erica: I tried to come up with something but clever, but the reality is that I’m too chicken to go to a deserted island! I don’t think I’d survive!

PROJECT 375: How would your friends describe you?

Erica: I had to ask my bestie to help me answer this one. She said I am loyal, purpose-driven, compassionate, and trustworthy.

PROJECT 375: What has been your biggest challenge? What did you learn from it?

Erica: The biggest challenge has been to prioritize myself at any time of my life. I learned that it’s exhausting to continually put others before myself. It lead to a continued sense of emptiness and an inability to give to others what I would like to give. Since starting Dialectical Behavior Therapy last year, I have really been able to willingly focus on myself and gain tools to live a healthy and effective life. It hasn’t been easy, but the fruits of my work have been so evident! 

PROJECT 375: What is your diagnosis?

Erica: Borderline Personality Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

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