Depression and Trucking

A lot of truckers really love their jobs and never think depression is a hazard of the job. However, there are quite a few truckers out there who get stuck in their daily routine and become more and more unhappy. The longer they are on the road, the less interaction they have with their family and friends.

After a while, the lack of contact leaves the driver feeling empty and isolated. The more empty and isolated a person is, the easier it is to cut off contact with the outside world. I’m sure you can see how depression causes isolation and more isolation causes more depression.

What is depression?

Remember, it is human to have feelings of sadness from time to time. Depression is when you have feelings of sadness and it interferes with something—job, family, not having enough energy to function, or being tired all the time, just to name a few. Since depression often runs in families, pay close attention to your family history if you find yourself feeling depressed.

What can be done about depression?

Many people instantly think of medication when they think of depression. Depending on the situation, an antidepressant may be appropriate. However, I want people to realize that by changing thoughts and behaviors, depression can often be reduced or eliminated. If a person often thinks negative thoughts, surrounds themselves with negative people, or isolates themselves, it is much easier to become depressed. Many people don’t realize that excessive drinking (more than 3 drinks per day) or other drug use often leads to depression or worsens existing depression.

These behaviors cause a person to be more depressed:

  • Isolation
  • Focusing on negatives
  • Considering self disabled
  • Focusing on anger
  • Substance abuse

These behaviors will help you to feel better:

  • Exercise
  • Hobbies
  • Talking with someone you trust about stress, depression, and other feelings
  • Journaling
  • Interacting with friends, family and other drivers
  • Taking a vacation!

Suicide

The ultimate consequence of depression is suicide. Usually, people commit or attempt suicide when they feel there is no hope of stopping the pain of depression or intense sadness. If someone reaches out to you in order to discuss their suicidal feelings, please take their concern seriously and talk with them. They usually need more of a listening ear, than a person to “fix” the problem. Listening is the best thing you can do. If you feel they are at risk of hurting themselves that day, see that they go to the nearest emergency room so they can get intensive services. If the suicidal person refuses help and you believe they are going to hurt themselves, call 9-1-1, so the police may help them get to the emergency room.

If you are suicidal and you are not willing to reach out to someone or go to the emergency room, these hotlines are available:

National Suicide Hotline (United States) at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK. Additional phone numbers can be located at Suicidehotlines.com.

If you have feelings of depression, sadness, or have some thoughts of hurting yourself, therapy often helps. Call a therapist or mental health center nearest you for an assessment. Once you are assessed, talk with your therapist to see if a referral for medication will be helpful.

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