We’ve all had that feeling creep up one time or another, of everything falling down around us and just wanting to give up. This feeling intensifies during times of great pressure outside your control. Truckers have it hard when the downturn comes and all you can do is sit and wait to see what happens next.
Recognizing depression is key to helping drivers stabilize themselves mentally. Some symptoms of depression are:
- Having a short fuse, quick to anger
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Change in appetite – weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble falling asleep or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy is increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity; hand-wringing, pacing. Slowed movement and speech which would be observable by others
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Continued thoughts of death or suicide
If you experience any of these yourself or if you see someone struggling with these symptoms, especially the last one, seek help right away. Don’t wait for it to pass or try to tough it out, talk to someone and get on top of it right away.
It’s important to let truck drivers know that they are not alone even if they don’t want to be and make sure they have someone to talk to. Someone in the company, friends, family, a clergy member are someone drivers should look to when negative thoughts overtake them.
Truckers are the fifth largest group for work-related suicides, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Schedule pressures, social isolation, disrespectful treatment from other drivers, driving hazards such as weather changes, traffic, poor road conditions, people who don’t understand that a truck cannot stop on a dime like a bicycle, violence, and fear of violence all make up the daily life of a truck driver.
Drug abuse, anxiety, depression are all conditions that you can have and absolutely need to treat as soon as you can. We all think we can do everything on our own, but not even Superman is invincible.
Help is available, so ask for it. Here are some mental health hotlines and a link to a teletherapy website:
National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) Hotline: 1-800-950-6264
24/7/365 Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255