Shortly after meeting Erica Streisslberger, a word quickly comes to mind: determination. Born with an intellectual disability, Erica has often been told what she supposedly can’t do. But she won’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back from reaching her goals.
“I have the mentality that, if you think I can’t do something, I’m going to prove you wrong,” says Erica. “I’ve known since the beginning that I was going to make a name for myself. In high school, I worked on the yearbook committees and ran for valedictorian. I wanted to help give more people a voice and show them that if I could do something, they could too.”
Erica’s family doctor referred her to CAMH, where she underwent counselling with a social worker and started dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). DBT is an evidence-based model of therapy that helps people learn and use new skills and strategies so that they build lives they feel are worth living. It was determined that Erica was living with major depressive disorder. More recently, she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder as well.