“I want a divorce, I can’t handle feeling like a single mother all the time even tho I’m married.” my wife screamed into her cell phone at me. Growing up as a third generation trucker I knew how she felt, I was reminded all to often by my mother who would cry herself to sleep sometimes. So I took a short haul gig and we worked on our relationship.
Like all good things that position came to a end, I had to hit the road to make money for my family. Again our relationship fell apart, I looked for therapy but no one would take us as clients due to my work schedule. Now in a situation where my choices are quit my job, lose my home, not provide for my kids and both my parents who were hospitalized or hit the road and take a chance of losing my wife. I decided to keep trucking for my family.
I love trucking but I can’t lie to you, the “trucking life style” is not always great. I lost my wife, almost lost my mother to cancer and watched my dad suffer from diabetes, shamed that he couldn’t provide for his family. At a time when most people would spend more time with their family, I had to run my tail off to take care of mine. It is not easy knowing that no matter what decision you make your hurting someone. That those 3 weeks your on the road earning money to feed and shelter your family may be their last days.
I remember calling my dad from my mothers hospital bed and saying “I’m hate trucking I want to —-” he said “the trucking way of life is a huge sacrifice, you give up your personal life so others can have theirs.” That is a great way to explain over the road trucking.
I know that I’m not alone here, many drivers are suffering from situations like this or maybe even worse. I didn’t want to unload my feelings on my ill family or make the situations worse. I felt trapped, with no one to talk to, I kept myself busy as not to deal with my problems. Then when I looked for professional help my schedule was not “regular” so they couldn’t talk to me.
I turned to my creative outlet by making a private video for my ex wife (kinda cheesy). I later uploaded it to youtube and was comforted with all kinds of wonderful advice.
This was years ago, today we all have someone to talk too.
Buck Black is an LCSW therapist who specializes in helping truckers and their families with anger and stress management, as well as depression and relationship problems. He does this over the phone, and Skype (webcam) at http://www.TruckerTherapy.com so truckers can make a living while, instead of taking time off work for office visits. Buck’s services are not just limited to the trucking community. He frequently sees couples and families in his office who are looking to improve themselves in various ways.
I have asked Buck if he could share a couple of tips that could help many men and women out here on the road, he gladly accepted.
Tips for improving your mood while on the road
Mile after mile can get very boring…and depressing! If you think about it, truckers have the ideal conditions for depression—isolation from much of the world, usually lack of exercise, difficulty getting healthy food, and little contact with family. All of these factors will wear on anyone unless there is a focus on keeping yourself positive.
1. Keep focused on the positive.
- All of that time to dwell on the negatives can really catch up with you. Turn off those news and political shows on your satellite radio. There is enough negativity out there and purposely tuning into it will only make it worse. Focus on positive music, or better yet, comedies and anything else that might make you laugh!
- Remember, if you are focused on something positive, it is much harder to think about the problems related to the job or how much you miss your family.
2. Eating better foods.
- I don’t mean to preach about food. I know it seems as though almost everyone criticizes truckers and their diet. This is just a reminder the more fast food and sugary foods you eat, the worse you will feel. There truly is a connection. Steer away from those hamburgers and fries and try more chicken, salads, and healthy subs. See what happens. I bet you will notice yourself feeling better. Choosing healthy food can still be quick and easy.
- The more you move, the better you feel. It’s just how the body works. You don’t necessarily have to work out at a gym in order to get some exercise. When you park, walk a few laps around your truck or park as far away from the building you are going to. Remember, you can always pump a little iron while you are in the truck. I know some drivers have a dumbbell they use to do a few reps while in their truck. Again, you don’t have to do a full exercise program. Just move a little more and it will lift your spirits.
4. Keeping in touch with friends and family
- Communication with the outside world is very important. Remember…because you are a trucker, you are automatically involved in long distance relationships. You have a long distance relationship with your spouse, friends, family, and so on. When discussing serious subjects, especially with your partner, use phone (or webcam, if possible) in order to help with accurate communication. Your tone of voice can often make a world’s difference in regards to working problems out or causing new ones! Don’t rely on texts and email too much. The written word can sometimes get you into trouble.
5. Find something you enjoy.
- Everyone needs something to look forward to. It is very easy to get in the dull routine of driving mile after mile for no particular reason. You just see those little green mile markers creeping past. I want you to think about how each mile marker represents another step closer to your goal. What goal? Well…it’s whatever goal you choose! Maybe each of those green posts represent the sooner you get home or the sooner you make enough money to get that new laptop you’ve always wanted.
- It’s also important to find something fun to do while you are on the road. What hobbies can you do? Maybe something related to blogging, photography, surfing the web, or whatever floats your boat.
I hope these tips will help life’s ride be a little smoother. Don’t be afraid to try some new things and throw out those that don’t work. Remember, you are in control of your life and your happiness. No one else can make you happy, mad, or anything else for that matter.
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