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anxious truck driver
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anxious truck driver

My husband who has been driving tractor trailer for the past 17 years had an attack about a month ago...I was there with him, he had been showing signs of nervousness, and worry while driving in winter conditions and it all just seemed to come to a head one morning.  He woke up and was just sitting behind the wheel getting ready to start his day when all of a sudden he was overcome by anxiety, he started shaking and breathing funny and then just sat there and cried.  He said he just couldn't do it anymore...
Now we are seeing a psychiatrist and he has him taking clonazepam.  Sure this calms his thinking and helps him sleep, instead of worrying that he is some kind of failure.  But our main concern is that he is actually scared to get back in the truck and drive.  He thinks he may feel ok once the spring comes and the snow is gone...
I don't think the doctor understands...he actually asked him if he thought he could drive while taking this medication, it makes him mellow and drowsy at times...i don't think he should be driving 80,000 lbs of truck while drowsy.
What i would like is some sort of material or websites related to truck drivers and driving anxiety.  Anywhere I look I just find ads for books that will 'cure driving anxiety', nothing about actually needing to be on the highway and keeping going with freight that is time sensitive.  I don't think the doctor fully understands the demands of driving a truck, it's not like you can go home and try another day when things look better...thankfully we were only 1300 miles from home and have a truly good friend that came out to rescue us...I drive as well but with the way he was behaving I couldn't fully concentrate on the driving and block him out.
I would really like to hear if someone else has ever had the same situation.
Oh by the way, we are Canadian and winter driving is normally second nature.
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8 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm so sorry for this to happen to your hubby, I deal with anxiety and one of my fears is driving, I had a panic attack while I was on the freeway, I thought I was going to die, I thought I was going to pass out, I had my kids in the car which made it even worse. This happened about 2 years ago and to this day I wont drive on a hwy without someone, I would rather have someone else drive. I dont take any meds so I dont know about him driving while taking them. Good luck to him I wiah you the best.
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366811_tn?1217426272
There are several issues here. First, medication and driving are often a bad mix. On the other hand, your husband's a pro, and would know if he were too woozy to drive. I'm surpirsed the psych asked HIM if he thought he could drive while taking the med. I would expect the shrink would warn him about it, or tell him to pay close attention to any drowsiness.

The other issue is the underlying causes of the panic. This is good territory for therapy, so your husband can dig out whatever is chewing at his gut and deal with -and then be done with the pills AND the panic.

Next chance you get, sit down with your husband and really talk out your comfort level with the psychiatrist; if the guy (gal) makes you edgy, get another and explain to the new one your misgivings about getting a prescirption and THEN being asked if he could rive. Something's not adding up here, for me.

There is going to be a period of digging through mental rubble to get at the panic -the drug healps with symptoms, but doesn't make the underlying causes go away, anymore than an aspirin cures a cold.

And I'll tell you something else. I know for a FACT that your husband is not the only driver out there with panic. Make an effort to connect with the others.

Finally, stay with us, encourage your husband to post material of his own, and keep us up to date.

I admire you for having dealt with the situation promptly and forthrightly.

We're all riding with you.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm very sorry for your husbands anxiety.
I also found meds I was taking didn't help driving phobia.
I got books on the subject, which really didn't help either.
I looked on Amazon and there were some tapes one could listen to while driving(relaxation).
My primary care doctor suggested biofeedback, which I never tried.
Good luck to you both.
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Avatar_f_tn
how are you making out with your driving? i too,drive a trac/trailer and i've been battling this for about 15 yrs. when it first happened,i cried like a baby,because i thought i would never drive again, but here i am,still driving and still battleing.  i also have severe issues on my motorcycle. hopefully,you will come to see that your not crazy and your not less then a man,and you can learn to deal with this.  i see it's been 2 yrs since you posted,please if you get to read this,let us know how your coping.thanks and good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
hello i living with Anxiety Disorders panic attack for two years also have Ankylosing spondylitis back problem and have tinnitus ear ringing all came together im a lorry driver as well its hard as hell i dont know how to work my way out hell
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Avatar_m_tn
I've had my trucking license for ten years, I've driven team and single, my husband and I have just started trucking again after a long leave of absence... the first week out on the road I was fine, then one night I woke up to drive in Virginia, he went to sleep and everything started out great, there is nothing I love the feel of more than driving truck! However, I started to pass another driver, when it felt like I couldn't keep my balance, I don't think I was even breathing at this point, I started getting light headed and panicky... it was the scariest feeling ever! I finished passing the driver, pulled into the next rest area and woke my husband up... it's happened every time I drove since, I could be fine for an hour but then it happens... it heightens when I go to pass someone. I had a cold and very sore ear  on my right side leaving that side of me vulnerable, I think for some strange reason I lost balance while passing, then took a panic attack and now they're coming on every time I drive... I feel horrible! I have a Drs apt tomorrow, how do I explain this? I love my job! I want things to go back to normal :(
How did your husband fair out?
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Avatar_m_tn
I have a major problem with this.I have been driving truck for almost 25 years,and am Canadian.I drove the mountains in the winter for years,and was always hammer down.One day 6-7 years ago,driving through Regina,i hit a patch of ice and it drove me into a 360 down into the ditch.It never hurt me,i got towed out.I have never been the same.I am like a big baby now to this day.I drive 70-80 km an hour in the winter and it scares the crap out of me.Theres no way i can shake this.Even though i am very experienced,i start having panic attacks and take double the time to get somewhere.Sometimes i wonder if i am going to be more of a problem for other drivers on the road.But i keep plugging away very cautiously.It scares me like nothing in this world.I am a very good driver in good weather and keep telling my self that i am good.I feel helpless to a point i have to phone in sick when its bad out.Looking for help.Not into drugs.God i only live in Toronto and run the corridor,but feel helpless.I know its a mind thing.Thanks for your time and any suggestions would be helpful,thank you
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Avatar_n_tn
Ive been driving Tractor traliler for about 7 yrs now and Ive been driving a car for over 20yrs well I having a different problem I only have these attacks when Im in my pick up (full size) with two or more ppl.When I drive the big truck I dont have any problems..I run the north/east corridor from Va. to Ct. this just started one day comimg from Winston-Salem Nc picking my Step-Daughter up from school we had all her stuff and another one of her friends. I thught maybe it was to crowded but the next week I rideing around town with my wife and daughter and it happend again but not as server as the firstTthe first time we had to pull over a couple of times and I even got a little sick I was figity and could'nt get settled I let my wife drive and I had to almost turn arond in the front seat to get comfortable till I went to sleep...I gonna try some of these tricks and see if they will help, But its making me a little crazy I have to admmit.
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