Beneath the Vest: Paramedic depression and anxiety recovery

Paramedic and volunteer firefighter Ashley Neubauer shares her journey through depression, anxiety and flashbacks


OC87 Recovery Diaries is an interactive website that features stories of mental health, empowerment and change.

In this segment, Ashley Neubauer, a paramedic and volunteer firefighter who has experienced depression, anxiety, painful flashbacks and bad dreams, shares her experiences.

Neubauer’s focus on recovery has allowed her to keep working as a first responder.

Ashley Neubauer, a paramedic and volunteer firefighter who has experienced depression, anxiety, painful flashbacks and bad dreams, shares her experiences.(Photo/Screengrab)
Ashley Neubauer, a paramedic and volunteer firefighter who has experienced depression, anxiety, painful flashbacks and bad dreams, shares her experiences.(Photo/Screengrab)

“I really do enjoy helping people,” she says, even in the darkest of times. “When we get called, it’s generally the worst day of someone’s life ... we’re the ones that come to fix that, make them feel they’re safe, we’ll make them better.”

Neubauer is a “huge patient advocate,” and invests a good deal of herself into every interaction. And she says that her career choice has many rewards. But it also poses significant challenges, especially for her mental health. “Working in this job, we are exposed to a lot of very traumatic things,” she says.

She sought help, but the medication she was prescribed wasn’t the right fit, and she attempted to hurt herself. Soon after, she was hospitalized for a few days in a psychiatric unit – a move that she says was the right thing for her at the time. It allowed her to address her mental health and create a plan for a more stable and productive life.

Neubauer now says she is “living her best life.” Read more of her story as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic here.

Read next: 5 things EMS providers should know about seeking mental health treatment

 

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