CDLLife reader R Jerry Paulick recently wrote in to share his thoughts on the tough ways that trucking takes a toll on mental health and reminds drivers there is always hope and help available.
“I shared this in another group I’m in after the death of someone I knew this week.
There was others over the years that succeeded and some that attempted and lived, and with Ryan I finally decided to speak up in hopes this helps others. Feel free to share this post if you feel the same way.
Thank you I’ve had the last 24 hours to think this over and I wanted to say some things that may hopefully help others before they decide to leave this world and their families and young kids behind wondering wtf happened, especially the kids that are young and can’t really understand why dad isn’t ever coming home.
Us drivers are often treated poorly, at shippers, receivers, on the road, at work, and even from our own families. The perception is that we have a gravy job and all kinds of time, but that’s far from the truth. The reality is that we have an extremely tough job. We have laws to follow, regulations, law enforcement watching closely, and that’s just the start. The other side is delivery times, fuel, logs, hours off to stay legal, maintenance and on and on.
The hard part for us drivers is to stay sane. We spend hours turning into days on the road alone and literally go crazy. It’s just us, the cb and the stereo. And people wonder why we go nuts.
Most times we are loud, don’t always say the right things, harsh, blunt, and why…try living how we do and see how long you stay normal. The truth is in the statistics for us. We have a very high suicide and mental issue rate, and it’s all because of how we live. We spend so much time alone and in our heads that there’s no way around it. It’s a proven fact that depression for us is directly related to our profession and there’s no way to combat that, except for proper medications or stopping the job.
Many of us have developed substance abuse and anger issues due to the job, and I’m guilty of this as well. Luckily for me I’m married to a saint that has helped me through my issues but some are not as fortunate as I am. The last few days a family lost a brother, son, friend, and most of all a little girl lost her dad.
We as a community need to stop running people into the ground, learn to be nicer to everyone we come across because we have no clue the issues they may be facing when we see them. All it takes is a hello in passing, maybe a helping hand on the road, even a chat at the fuel pumps while filling up. You never know what struggles someone may be facing and one small act could change someone’s mind about ending it all. If you see someone struggling or in need, by all means reach out, do all you can. If need be take them for help yourself. Anyone in my life knows when I’m awake and my phones on at all times when im up so by all means call me! If your in your head and life seems not worth living give me a chance to help! I’m always willing to talk and most times a familiar voice and a nice talk will help. If someone needs the time to talk I’m always here, don’t be afraid to call, I’m always up noon to midnight and to save a life and a family’s heartache it’s well worth the call, so please think, call and get help!! This is the only life you have, live it to the fullest!!!”