Staff Sergeant Michelle Fisher joined the Air Force through the delayed entry program when she was 17 as a Security Forces Airman. During her decade of service, she deployed four times in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. While serving in Iraq, Michelle experienced the loss of fellow soldiers, near death experiences, and was sexually assaulted.
Upon her return from deployment, she struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), military sexual trauma (MST), agoraphobia, and insomnia. To cope with her undiagnosed trauma, she began abusing alcohol. In 2009, she was arrested for driving while under the influence. Michelle stated that this was a blessing because it was the catalyst for her seeking treatment and a diagnosis at the Veteran Affairs (VA) hospital.
Despite undergoing treatment, Michelle attempted suicide in 2013. She then entered an inpatient treatment program for PTSD and substance abuse at the Salt Lake City VA. Through this program, she learned about the benefits of using sports and recreation as a form of therapy and as an effective tool for treating addiction.
In 2014, she was hired as an instructor for Wasatch Adaptive Sports (WAS) and now teaches cycling, mountain biking, snow shoeing, fishing, and skiing. Michelle uses mountain biking to tackle her agoraphobia and PTSD. It has allowed her to connect with members of the community through a shared passion and become a liaison for suicide awareness, and pro-mental health messages to save lives.
Michelle isn’t just committed and passionate about her personal healing journey, but she is committed and passionate about helping others with their healing journey either as a volunteer, a participant with Continue Mission, or through her work with WAS.