Keep an open mind when caring for your mental health

David Henry

“This is the way we’ve always done it.”

Those words are guaranteed to send a shiver right through my driveline. I do not appreciate that attitude in business.

Businesses that are not willing to adapt to changing conditions will soon find themselves in the middle of a desert with no GPS. I believe that transport companies are some of the best at adapting. Think back to this past year and the Covid-related challenges. I can be critical of some things in our industry, but we are great at turning right and left as the regulations and environment change in front of us. Kudos to all of you in trucking.

I’m going to grab a different gear here because I’m not going to talk about business.

I am going to get personal. No, I’m not a mechanic, so you don’t need to open your hood.

To some of you, I am known to speak out about mental health issues in trucking. If you don’t know my background, here’s the quick reference guide: I have survived four major head injuries, two of which should’ve killed or left me in a vegetive state.

I have suffered multiple other injuries, but let’s just leave it like this. I have been hurt. I live every day with the after-effects.

(iStock)

Today I work full-time hours as a longhaul trucker and do a podcast along with some speeches to try and show others that there is always hope to become productive again. Head injuries and mental health issues are not fun to deal with. Longhaul life presents its own challenges with this. I have a fairly good grip on my steering wheel in life.

Or do I?

Here is one of my challenges. Showing the good, the bad and the ugly on social media and to others in real life in such a way that is honest and uplifting. On every road there are two ditches, neither of which are a help in getting to your destination.

Pride is a horrible disease. Pride makes me think that I have an image to uphold, thus shielding others from seeing the real person that I am. There is no help to others in that.

I bring this up because I’m getting into uncharted territory. I have some new health challenges to overcome. I will not get into details, but I have had a hard time keeping my head up this winter.

I have been telling others since last summer that we need to keep focused on our mental health because the trauma of dealing with Covid and normal trucking will affect us the most when times ease up a bit.

So, I have been very hard on myself when I could not pick myself up better. One of the problems that comes with mental health issues is wondering if I am actually experiencing a problem, or is it a phantom nerve issue or just plain old depression?

I went to my doctor a couple months ago for some tests. Turns out there may be some other real problems. The severity is not determined. More tests need to be done, but there’s some big bumps in the road called Covid that are delaying getting it looked at.

“This is the way I’ve always recovered.” That’s right. I have had pride in how I look after my health. I have done a decent job for a few years, but it is always a moving target. I didn’t want to think about changing some things in my life in response to my latest challenge. I have survived quite well doing what I’m doing.

I have been afraid others will think I’m all show truck and no delivery if they knew how tough these last few months have been on me. Change is tough. It can hurt. Our bodies get older, our environment changes, and countless other things continually shift.

The reality is that just like our industry, I need to keep adapting to whatever comes along. I don’t have it all figured out but it will continue to be a ride to remember.

 

David Henry

David Henry is a longhaul driver, Bell Let's Talk representative and creator/cohost of the Crazy Canuck Truckin podcast. His passion is mental health and presenting a better image for trucking to the public.

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  • Thanks David, another great article. I appreciate the candor. You present an excellent example for all us. Nobody escapes without challenges either for themselves or with the people they love and care about. I really appreciate your honesty and willingness. All the best! Gene Emslie