How to Tell If You’re Depressed and What You Can do to Feel Better While on the Road

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Long-haul trucking is physically and mentally taxing. It’s not surprising if you’re depressed or become anxious over time. Over the Road Therapy, LLC provides support for truckers like you who occupy incredibly demanding jobs. No matter what obstacles you face on the road, you have to get your loads to their destination on time.  The sad truth is that your job is stressful, and it keeps you away from home.   

Truckers spend (on average) more than 240 nights away from home per year, which causes stress IN the home as well. If you’re feeling sad, don’t question your manhood—it has nothing to do with it. Stressors cause excess wear and tear to your body AND mind.  Luckily, you can learn healthy coping skills to live a satisfying life, whether you are at home or on the road. 

Who Has Depression?   

According to research published in 2005 by the Harvard Department of Health Care Policy, one out of six adults will experience symptoms of depression at some point during their lifetime. That’s approximately 16 million Americans per year.   

The transportation industry is made up of some of the most stress-inducing careers, and trucking is one of them. Let’s put this in perspective: 1.5 % of the American population suffers from depression. On the other hand, 13.6% of truck drivers suffer from some level of depression. Wow.  

How to Tell if You’re Depressed  

It is confusing to know whether you are feeling sad, going through a slump, or if you’re depressed. While it takes a health professional to diagnose, here are the signs of depression outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)  Keep in mind, you must experience five of the following symptoms for at least two weeks (most of the time during the period), and one of them is that you feel sad or depressed.   So if you:

1. Feel bummed out, depressed or sad almost always  

2. Don’t enjoy doing activities that you usually enjoy (you may even dread them)  

3. Are unexplainably losing or gaining weight, and you may notice a change in your appetite 

4. Seem to be dragging physically and mentally  

5. Lack energy most of the time 

6. Feel like “a loser” or extra guilty for no reason. (p.s. you’re not a loser at all) 

7. Can’t think straight, pay attention, or make the simplest decisions 

8. May think about death or suicide (with or without a plan)  

If you are feeling suicidal, dial 911 or call the suicide hotline IMMEDIATELY.    

There are different levels of depression. Just because you are on the job, muscling through your day doesn’t mean that you’re not depressed. That’s because impairment does not necessarily mean that you are not functional.  

Also, keep in mind that if you are using drugs or drinking heavily, it may be hard to gauge if you are depressed. Talk to your therapist about all activities, including drug use, drinking, and other illicit things you do to cope with stress. Over the Road Therapy counselors respect your privacy. We don’t report to your insurance and we’d never contact your employer.  

Depression Affects All Aspects of Your Life  

If it goes untreated, depression can affect every aspect of your daily life. It can impact your sleeping and eating patterns, education and career choices, relationships, physical health, and ability to concentrate at work or in other settings. It can often lead to alcohol and drug addictions when individuals attempt to self-medicate with these substances.   

Your telemental health professional has the expertise to answer any questions about the connection between depression and substance abuse and will help you map out a plan for a healthier and happier life. 

What to Do if You’re Depressed  

The first step in dealing with your depression is to admit it. The next step is to get a support system in place. Your allies can include trusted friends, your pastor, and your loved ones.  Keep in mind that not all your friends or loved ones may understand depression. Some of them may even cause you to feel worse about yourself (despite their best efforts). 

At Over the Road Therapy in McDonough, GA, we offer in-person, phone, and online talk therapy to long-haul truckers. Keep in mind; you can schedule to talk to a therapist while on the road if you’re a Georgia resident. You can speak to your therapist from your rig (at a truck stop) or in your hotel room. 

Here is the bottom line: The sooner you start talking about it, the sooner you can get help and get your life back to normal.  Give us a call.