Depression is not a sign of weakness...  it is a sign that you have struggled alone for too long

There’s light at the end of the tunnel

In our industry we are under more and more pressure each week that goes by. Saturation of the market, insurance and fuel costs increasing, and Clean Air Policies forcing us all to change to vehicles at a huge cost or face a daily charge to take the paying public where they want to.

All this adds up, while our takings are going down. We go to work knowing how difficult it is going to be to earn the money to pay last week’s bills and then you get a flat tyre or a breakdown just to twist that pressure screw a little bit more. That my friends, is what leads to depression in men. The symptoms to look out for, in yourself and your colleagues are as follows; • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain and changes in appetite • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt • Impaired ability to think or concentrate, and/or indecisiveness • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a plan, or a suicide attempt or suicide plan The stress that we endure daily within this trade can and will get to most of us, don’t ignore it, talk to friends, family or colleagues. This is a vital part of recognising that you are suffering, and us men don’t share our concerns enough thinking that we should be tougher, well we aren’t, not you, me or any other man out there. Since writing this, a driver has reached out to me to share his experience since being robbed at knifepoint and I think his trauma should be shared also, because it verifies the message that is hopefully being spread in this article. “Hi Lee. I want to thank you firstly for your support in reply to me sharing my experience. Before becoming a taxi driver, I worked within industrial fabrication and glazing industry. Where your hardened by having to get on with it regardless of the weather conditions. It gives the persona of being a hard man where nothing would affect your feelings. Cuts were a day to day occurrence where a bit black tape would suffice until you could visit A&E for stitches. I was referred by my GP to the South Team Mental Health at the local community hospital. There they had a job on their hands, but you've got to work with them to go forward. But this was to be a big barrier when it came to try to portray and explain details of feelings to the psychiatrist. It was not normal to show weakness in this way. After having several meetings with the psychiatrist, it did start to come out but still it was wrong or an alien thing to me releasing inner weaknesses. As she put it, you’re a man’s man who keeps it to himself. After some more meetings we went to discuss how to proceed with treatment, either continue with cognitive narratives with her that really wasn't progressing much, or with a colleague who carried out Eye Movement Desensitization Routine. A new way of working the brain to open hidden barriers. It’s like watching Kits lights from Knight Rider with David Hasselhoff. You first watch the lights move slowly L-R as you describe yourself in a safe place, sights, smells any sounds etc. Then the lights are sped up and as you follow them thinking about your incident it opens both sides of your mind to a closed off memory. Through this we moved to different moments of the time of the robbery and it would bring up very surprising memories. I would remember that the guys jacket has a distinctive smell, that he took off his hat as he walked away from the car at the end, most amazing was when I was asked about my body flinching and moving away to the right. It was to get away from the knife that was being pointed at my eye. You would have tears appear during the few minutes of agitating fast lights as things came to light. Incredible stuff as it worked out. As it opened these locked memories it became less and less difficult to understand. Mentally exhausted after each meeting it was also a bit disorienting as an hour went by in minutes. I'd have to have a rest and a sleep afterwards. Eventually it came to a head when I said to her, I'd stopped and looked at the place of the robbery and said I was just unlucky to have been that person there at that time. Which she said was what she was looking for. To be recommended to anyone struggling after a traumatic experience. It worked for me it may help them. This insight might help your article or encourage others to seek help.” A.S. from Scotland told me this and I thank him personally for sharing his experience with us all. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make everything right, but I can’t. I wish the government would take to task what’s wrong with this industry, but they won’t. We need to ask Local Councillors what they will do for our industry and pressure those elected to keep their word. After all, its their policies that are putting this pressure on the trade both locally and nationally. Please, take note of this information, talk to someone, even the stranger that you are taking across town in all that traffic, talk to anyone, but talk!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

There are a number of organisations which are there to help those suffering from mental health issues... here are just a few;

www.mind.org.uk

www.headstogether.org.uk

www.thecalmzone.net

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