Posts written by LLarimore

Author Bio: Lakin joined the CFI team in February 2015 and is Communications Editor. She plays an important role in social media and internal publications like Drive Line to keep drivers engaged and informed. Lakin is a valuable asset to the team and hopes the blog is a useful resource for drivers and inspires them to live a healthier lifestyle. She attained her degree in Mass Communications from Missouri Southern State University located in Joplin, Missouri. She enjoys talking to drivers and sharing their story using all avenues of communication.

May 19th, 2016

If you have experienced a traumatic event, you might feel anxious, depressed or even just not your normal self. According to the Mayo Clinic, all of those feelings are perfectly normal. Experiencing symptoms that are common for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) does not automatically mean that you have PTSD. Typically, with time and taking proper care of yourself, those symptoms disappear. In fact, PTSD can develop up to a year after the initial event occurred.

Due to the delay in the display of symptoms, doctors recommend keeping a list and close eye on how you’re feeling. If you notice your symptoms worsen or persist for a length of time, contact your health care professional . There are many different treatments available for those diagnosed with PTSD.

Therapy

Counseling or therapy allows you to talk about what you’re feeling in a safe environment. A therapist can help you work through your different emotions and positively deal with the trauma you may have experienced. If you are a veteran, Veteran Affairs (VA) is a good resource to see what benefits are available for you. Due to the nature of the career, you may prefer an option like calling a hotline, which is a little more flexible.

Medication

There are a variety of medicines available to help control your depression or anxiety. When you first go see your health care professional , they will most likely ask you a series of questions about the event so they can determine what the best treatment option is.

 

The effects of having PTSD can extend to your family and friends if left untreated. Contact your health care professional  if you have any questions.

 

 

 

 

May 13th, 2016

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that is caused from being exposed to a trauma. While PTSD is most commonly associated with those with a military background, it can be caused from any traumatic experience, including the following:

  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Car or plane crashes

This observation was recently supported by recent article in Fleet Owner called “Underreported: Drivers not seeking help for mental health issues. “The PTSD that we’re going to see more of is really about witnessing violence, being part of violence, witnessing traumatic events on the road. PTSD episodes can be triggered by more time on the road. We hear PTSD and we think war and veterans coming back from conflicts and that’s a problem,” said Mona Shattell, Professor and Chairperson, Community Systems and Mental Health Nursing at Rush University’s College of Nursing. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four types of symptoms and can appear up to three months after the initial event (listed below).

Avoidance

While two different people can experience the exact same event, like a car accident, they may process those feelings in very different ways. Avoiding the place where the event occurred or people that were involved or remind you of the event is normal and even talking about the event itself is even normal. However, if you still are having difficulty going back to a normal routine and talking about those events, it may be a symptom of PTSD.

Negative changes in thinking and mood

This symptom refers to big personality changes like negative feelings about yourself or other people, inability to experience positive emotions or lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed. Other symptoms include memory problems and difficulty maintaining close relationships.

Changes in emotional reactions

These are also called arousal symptoms and include the following:

Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior

  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened

Intrusive memories

Intrusive memories are things like reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again or having dreams about the event. Experiencing severe emotional distress or even physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event is something you need to take seriously.

As mentioned earlier, PTSD symptoms can vary depending on the individual. It is normal to be anxious or depressed after a traumatic event, but if those feelings persist you should call your health professional.

 

 

 

May 6th, 2016

Jeff Thurlow_pp copy 2Jeff Thurlow is the orientation instructor for XPO Logistics Truckload, headquartered in Joplin, Missouri. As a former professional driver, he understands the unique challenges being an over-the road-driver brings. He shares his tips and tricks on how to balance your personal life while driving cross-country.

 

Q: What was your career before becoming a professional driver?

A: I was in the U.S. Army for 4 years, stationed at Fort Wainwright, AK. Once I got out I went to work for Electrolux, a refrigeration company that was based out of Greenville, MI.

Q: How long did you drive before coming off the road?

A: I drove for seven years until I came off the road into the training department in January of 2015. I stayed in the training department until December of 2015 when I moved into the Orientation instructor position.

Q: Did you have problems adjusting to the schedule?

A: I really did not. Being in the Military for four years I adjusted to the fast paced lifestyle and having to get things done on my own. I really enjoyed the thought of being my own boss and making my own schedule and seeing each load through to the end.

Q: Suggestions for those new to the industry?

A: My dad told me just before I left for boot camp, if you shut your mouth and open your ears you tend to learn a lot more. I still hold onto that thought today. With that, when someone comes into the industry find someone to learn from and listen. Truck drivers for the most part are willing to pass down any tidbits that will help a new driver.

Q: What are some best practices?

A: Building good habits from the start. That goes from the small things of taking the lock off and on the trailer door the same every time so you don’t forget it, to doing a proper pre, mid and post trip inspections and[doing your best at] preventing any surprises that may arise when pulled into a weigh station or a road side inspection.

Q: Do you teach that in orientation, if so what does it look like?

A: I do. I try to repeat things throughout the week that I think are important. The folks in orientation take in so much I try and emphasize the important things to try to get them to stick.

Q: How long did it take to adjust to the schedule change?

A: It really didn’t take me any time adjusting to the change. Holidays and summertime was the hardest for me when family and friends were together and I was out running the roads. I just had it in my mind that I was making life better for my wife and kids by doing this.

Q: What was the biggest challenge?

A: As much as our finishers prepare a new driver for the road, we as students only get a little sliver of the overall picture. Remembering and learning that there is a support staff here in Joplin is one of the keys to success here at XPO.

Q: Any other advice?

A: Take this job one mile at a time, and don’t rush into anything. Generally it is the small things that will reach up and bite us when we let our guard down.