Trucker Therapy Blog

Depression on the Road

By Sandy Long

Recently, a group started on Facebook to help truck drivers in dealing with depression.  It was amazing on just how many drivers do deal with some sort of depression at one time or another and for so many reasons.  Since I too have had my own issues with dealing with it, it got me thinking.

Everyone has a day now and then where they feel blue, maybe they do not feel good, had a fight with friend, or partner, got laid over in Podunkville for the weekend, or snowed in.  It lasts a day or two, then their mood rises; this is normal.  Depression is where the down mood lasts more than a couple of days, hope is lost, one cannot see any good in their lives.

Depression can be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, can be symptomatic of mental illness, caused by the death of a loved one, relationship issues, overwhelming stress, and anything negative that just does not go away.  Different things can set an individual spiraling down, where the same set of circumstances might not bother someone else.

Lone Wolves

 

By Sandy Long

Trucking has always attracted those folk with antisocial attitudes.  Many are ex-military who do not want to be ordered about every minute of the day.  Some may suffer from post-traumatic disorders and just do not want to deal with the stress of interacting with others on a close basis.  A few may be coming out of abusive relationships and are afraid of allowing anyone close.

Avoiding Burnout

 

Truckers face many stressors in their day, they have to deal with traffic, weather, shippers and receivers, and poor quality of food.  Fatigue enters in as does family stress, not being home when one wants, or needs, to be is very stressful.  Avoiding burnout is not easy due to time constraints, but it can be done with some planning and creative thinking.

What Do My Trucker Clients Look Like?

At least 80% of my trucker clients have problems with loneliness because many are away from home for weeks at a time.  If the driver is in a relationship, then communication problems are more likely due to the distance.  My clients often communicate via text and since tone of voice and body language is not present, there is a greater chance for arguments and miscommunications.  My clients also are more likely to have depressive concerns because of the isolation of being on the road.

 

What is depression?

Depression is one of the most common conditions I see in the trucking industry.  Missing home, disagreements with loved ones, problems with dispatchers, isolation, and general boredom are all common factors that can lead to depression.

 

What is depression?  It when you feel down-in-the-dumps for an extended period of time.  This can cause a variety of symptoms:

 

Headaches

Feelings of hopelessness

Lack of energy

Irritability/anger

Lack of concentration

Slow movement

Weight gain or loss

Crying spells

Grief in the Trucking Industry

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of death in the trucking industry.  It is very difficult to hear about these tragedies and often even more difficult to know how to respond to a fellow trucker and their family who has lost a loved one.  Often, one does not know what to say when someone loses a loved one.  Sometimes, we find ourselves rambling or regretting what we utter when we are just trying to find a way to comfort someone who is grieving. 

 

Are You Missing Home?

I once had driver who told me that if you need a haircut while you are on the road, you’ve been on the road for too long.  I think he has some pretty good advice.  How often do you make it home?  How long do you stay once you get there?

 

Think Warm During These Cold Times

Truckers certainly have to deal with the winter weather more than the average person.  Not only is it harder to stay warm in the truck, but there are more cold related mechanical problems, bad road conditions, and the sheer pain of having to work in the cold weather.

TRUCKING SOLUTIONS GROUP ANNOUNCES DRIVER LED GRASSROOTS FUNDRAISING EFFORT TO BRING A MOBILE MAMMOGRAM UNIT TO THE GREAT AMERICAN TRUCKING SHOW

For Immediate Release

LAKEWOOD, Colorado, May 13, 2015 - The Trucking Solutions Group announced today a fundraising campaign to raise money to cover the cost of mammograms for those CDL holders attending the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Tx.

"Mind Over Matter" on the Tim Ridley Show

I'm a regular on the Tim Ridley Show (SiriusXM Road Dog Channel) where I talk about managing stress, anger, and relationships specifically related to the trucking industry.

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