Living with driving related PTSD

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“Americans take an average of four car trips every day—that’s more than 1,400 per year. It’s no wonder that the chance of dying while inside a moving vehicle is about 1 in 6,700. Car crashes are the leading cause of death in teenagers, and second leading cause of death in all other populations. Without a doubt, driving is risky business.” (Source: NTSB Safety Compass)

I have a problem. I’ve had this problem going on 17 years this year. It surfaced in the year 2000, while I was working as a delivery driver for a paper company in Little Rock, Arkansas. At the time, although the company had gone through two changes of ownership, I had gone to work there, at that same building, for ten years. Monday through Friday, from 6 AM until whenever I was done with my route. I got the job after coming off the road. I wanted a local job after two years of over-the-road driving. The company had straight trucks and tractor-trailers, and I drove both, depending upon which route I was on. I put in a lot of miles every day. Day after day, week after week, year after year. During one day, most people drive to work, drive home from work, and perhaps stop by the store along the way. I drove to work and then I spent all day driving. Then I drove home from work and stopped at the store along the way. That’s a lot of driving. More than the average person could imagine. I saw a lot when I was on the road every day. Lots of dangerous situations. Lots of wrecks. Lots of close calls. Lots of near misses. I saw people get hurt. I saw people get killed.

There was one particularly bad week, wherein seven people were killed on one short, dangerous stretch of interstate highway in Southwest Little Rock. I saw one of the wrecks after it happened. A car had crossed the median and gone underneath the front of a tractor-trailer that had been traveling the opposite direction. The firemen were trying to get the mangled bodies out of the car while it was underneath the truck and I thought they may as well get a crane to lift the truck and drag the car out with the bodies inside. But that’s not the way they do things. The next day I saw on the news it had been a woman and her little girl that had gone underneath the truck the day before.

Like I said, that was a bad week. I only saw the one wreck but I heard about the others. Some of them were partly caused by bad road design, which has since been fixed. But they were all due to human error regardless. I remember clocking in one morning that week while another driver was clocking in, too. He asked me if I had heard about one of the wrecks and I told him that I had. He said he had seen it and that it was really bad. He clocked in and walked away. I began to tear up, and I contemplated not clocking in. Not going to work. Not driving anymore. Ever. Because I just couldn’t take it anymore. The deaths. It was too much for me. I knew then and there I had a problem. I had been driving for many years by that time, and I always enjoyed doing so. Now I didn’t. I had reached my breaking point.

I did clock in that day. I went to work, like I always did. And I did my job. But after that day I was never the same. I would find myself tearing up again whenever I saw a wreck. Even when I saw dead animals on the road. That was when I knew I had to quit driving for a living.

I didn’t quit right away. I went to see a therapist about my problem: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was helpful to talk about my problem. My particular problem was one the therapist hadn’t seen before: driving related PTSD.

An opportunity arose at the company when our manager asked me to become the warehouse manager. I jumped at the chance, because it would take me off the road. I did that for a while, long enough to get the warehouse back in order after a disastrous merger with another company. I got into an argument with a middle manager and he said he was putting me back on the truck. I said “No you’re not, because I quit”. He didn’t know the reason why, but there was no way I was going back to driving a truck.

I got a job at Barnes and Noble Booksellers after that. It was probably the happiest time in my life. I didn’t have to drive all day every day. I made lots of new friends. I worked around books. I even fell in love.

After working there a year I had a couple weeks of vacation, so I planned to drive back east to visit an old friend and my parents. I worked nights and got off work around midnight, so I planned to leave after work. Even though I knew driving late at night isn’t a good idea.

Sure enough, around 3:30 in the morning, between Forest City and West Memphis, Arkansas, on Interstate 40 east, I came upon stopped traffic and a wreck that had just happened. Sadly, a Canadian family’s minivan had smashed into the rear end of a JB Hunt tractor-trailer that was stopped on the shoulder. The minivan hit the trailer at highway speed. Two people were dead and one, the driver, was injured.

That’s not a nice thing to come across on the highway. Especially when you already have driving related PTSD. But what can you do? I did what I could, along with others, to comfort the injured driver, and I found something to cover the bodies of the dead.

When I got to Memphis, about 5 hours later, I got gas, I got a room, I prayed for the family, and I wept.

I was pretty angry with God after that. We talked, and I assured him that I would see no more carnage on my trip. That that was IT! for this trip.

I didn’t see any more wrecks on that trip, thank God. That one was more than enough.

I’ve had a few driving jobs since that time. Some local, some longer distances, but at this point in time I haven’t driven a truck professionally since 2014.

I drove to Florida the other day, which is a two day drive from Pennsylvania where I now live, and it was stressful. Actually, before I left for Florida, I drove to a city in Maryland twenty miles from where I live and that was stressful too. I don’t appear to be stressed when I drive. I’m calm, cool, and collected like I always am… but I’m waiting… I’m waiting to be hit… I’m waiting for someone else to be hit…. I’m expecting death and destruction to occur any moment. Unlike most people, when I wake up the day I’m planning to drive somewhere, I’m somewhat afraid to do so. I always think long and hard about whether or not any drive is worth the risk. In the end I usually overcome my fear and just go. I’m still afraid but I know I can’t stop living, which, for most of us, includes driving on a regular basis.

Most people don’t expect those things when they drive. They just drive and that’s it. Most people are surprised when accidents happen. I’m surprised when they don’t. I always considered the fact that any time I get into a car it may be the day I die. It is, for a lot of people, so why not me? The odds are pretty good it may be my day, especially since I have so many miles under my belt. I feel like my number is coming up.

Although PTSD can be, they say, caused by one traumatic event, I’ve always been of the opinion PTSD is caused by repeated exposure to traumatic events in a dangerous environment, like combat. For example, what used to be called “battle fatigue” wasn’t caused by one experience or one battle, it was caused by many experiences and many battles. It was caused by the daily risk of dying a violent death and daily witnessing the violent deaths of others over an extended period of time. When it comes to stress like that, everyone has a breaking point. I reached mine that day I considered not clocking in for work. I simply couldn’t take any more death and destruction.

The thing about driving related PTSD is that you can’t stop driving. I would like to, but it’s not practical for me to do so right now, and it’s not practical for most people to stop driving. Unlike combat, which comes to an end when soldiers return from war, driving never ends. For me it’s like I’m a soldier with combat related PTSD being forced to go back into combat day after day with no end in sight. For me, cars and trucks are like bullets flying all around me, and I’m just waiting for someone, including me, to get hit. I was almost hit by a tractor-trailer that came across the median on Interstate 30 in Arkansas one day. You wouldn’t believe how fast it happened. One second the truck was where it was supposed to be and the next second it was on my side of the road slamming into and killing the guy behind me. I think about that incident when I drive. I know how fast death can occur on the highway. And it’s not something I enjoy thinking about. Nor is it a risk I enjoy taking. But I can’t stop living. And a PTSD therapy dog isn’t going to help me either. The dog would just be another innocent soul along for another death defying ride, right? Why put the poor dog at risk, too? Like I said, there’s no end to the stress factors when it comes to driving related PTSD. You just have to keep going out there, day after day, and hoping for the best. Thankfully, I’m in a situation now where I don’t do much driving. I only drive when I have to. I spend most of my time hiking and mountain biking in the mountains behind my house. I enjoy the slow pace, the animals, the trees, the peace. I hate the highway, the stress, the death and destruction, and I wish I could avoid it forever.

There’s not much information online about driving related PTSD. Not the kind of truck driving related PTSD that I have anyway. I found one article about it. I’ll include it along with another link below. Perhaps this article may be of some help someday to someone who suffers from the same problem I do. I hope so.

I’m driving back to PA from Florida in a couple of days so, who knows… I may never get back to PA alive. I hope I do, but I’m prepared, like always, to be killed on the highway. Hopefully I won’t see anyone else killed on the highway either. I’m really tired of that.

Drive safe! 🙂

When long-haul trucking leads to mental-health problems

Around a third of the 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. will be involved in a serious road accident at some point during their careers. That’s a lot of people—more than a million—experiencing potentially severe job-related trauma. In fact, long-haul truckers have some of the highest rates of injuries and illness of all occupations—which makes it all the more alarming that truckers often have a difficult time accessing mental-health services… The job of a trucker, in other words, can mean dealing with PTSD, regularly facing trauma triggers, and battling exhaustion through it all—without professional help to identify or manage these mental-health problems.” Read more: When long-haul trucking leads to mental-health problems https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/03/long-haul-trucking-and-mental-health/474840/

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

“Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a pathological anxiety disorder resulting after exposure to a traumatic event. Current literature estimates that 8% of the U.S. population meets the criteria for PTSD and while PTSD cases commonly involve combat or assault experiences, there is a wide range of events capable of triggering PTSD symptoms. These events include car accidents, kidnappings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and any other traumatic experience where an individual experienced or witnessed an event that involved death or the threat of physical harm.” Source: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder http://www.med.upenn.edu/ctsa/ptsd_symptoms.html

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Why the media hates Kellyanne Conway

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Kellyanne Conway is well educated, a successful business woman, and a powerful political strategist. So why isn’t she being praised as a feminist superstar? Because she’s Catholic, conservative, and (gasp!) pro-life…

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Zionists use fear to drive Jews to Israel

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“The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home. This week, a special team of ministers will convene to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism. All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our country, which is also your country.” ~ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Source)

Trump begins his first speech to Congress by denouncing wave of anti-Semitism

“Facing criticism for his relative silence on the topic, President Donald Trump began his first major speech to Congress by denouncing a recent wave of anti-Semitism. In the first sentences of his joint address to Congress on Tuesday, the president decried the defaced Jewish cemeteries and bomb threats made against Jewish community centers across the US…” Continue reading: Trump begins his first speech to Congress by denouncing wave of anti-Semitism http://linkis.com/businessinsider.com/dU09Z

My Own Thoughts on This Subject

Whenever I see “a wave of anti-Semitism” in the news I think:

“The Zionists, yet again, are attempting to drive Jews to Israel.”

This ploy has been used — for more than 100 years — against Jews who have not desired to emigrate to the Jewish state, because they have been happy to assimilate into Europe, the United States, and other nations and cultures around the world.

Such assimilation is anathema to the Zionists, and always has been.

Zionists want all Jews to live in the Jewish state.

Zionists want assimilated Jews to feel uncomfortable and afraid.

Zionists use fear tactics to drive assimilated Jews to the Jewish state.

The modern fear of anti-Semitism (and the term “anti-Semitism” itself) arose during the rise of the modern Zionist movement, which began during the nineteenth century.

“Anti-Semitism, hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious or racial group. The term anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by the German agitator Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns under way in central Europe at that time.” (Source)

Please don’t be fooled by media reports of anti-Semitism.

The only people who stand to gain from such threats, vandalism, and attacks are the Zionists.

And the Zionists are the first people we should suspect of having perpetrated these sorts of crimes…

Philadelphia police investigate ‘reprehensible’ toppling of 100 headstones at Jewish cemetery

“Police in Philadelphia are investigating what they call a targeted act of vandalism that toppled more than 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in the city, just a week after a similar incident occurred in Missouri. Although authorities investigating both cases have not deemed them hate crimes, the episodes have sparked alarm among Jewish groups and public officials at a time when reports of anti-Semitic actions appear to be on the rise…” Continue reading: Philadelphia police investigate ‘reprehensible’ toppling of 100 headstones at Jewish cemetery https://wpo.st/ttWe2

Bomb Threats To Jewish Centers Were Made Using “Spoofing” And Voice-Masking Technology

“Investigators believe the perpetrators responsible for the latest wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish centers and schools around the US used sophisticated technology to shield their identity….” Continue reading: Bomb Threats To Jewish Centers Were Made Using “Spoofing” And Voice-Masking Technology https://www.buzzfeed.com/mikehayes/bomb-threats-to-jewish-centers-used-spoofing?utm_term=.tgVGajky7

U.S. Jewish centers report another wave of hoax bomb threats

“Jewish community centers and schools in at least 13 U.S. states reported receiving bomb threats on Monday, the fifth wave of such threats this year that have stoked fears of a resurgence of anti-Semitism. The threats, all of which appeared to be hoaxes, were received in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia, the JCC Association of North America said. For some centers, it was the second or third time this year they had been targeted…” Continue reading: U.S. Jewish centers report another wave of hoax bomb threats http://reut.rs/2mwy5IB

7 weeks, 54 Jewish Community Centers, 69 bomb threats

“For the fourth time in seven weeks, Jewish Community Centers across the country have been the target of bomb threats. The latest wave of terrorizing phone calls temporarily closed 11 JCCs Monday, the JCC Association of North America said. The other threats were called in on Jan. 9, 18 and 31. A total of 69 bomb threats have been called into 54 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province in the first two months of 2017…” Continue reading: 7 weeks, 54 Jewish Community Centers, 69 bomb threats http://www.timesunion.com/7dayarchive/article/69-bomb-threats-called-in-to-54-JCCs-nationwide-10947415.php

Benjamin Netanyahu to French, European Jews after Paris attacks: Israel is your home

“The France attacks could be the start of a new wave of worldwide terrorism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Saturday night as he promised French Jews they had a home in Israel…” Continue reading: Benjamin Netanyahu to French, European Jews after Paris attacks: Israel is your home http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Netanyahu-to-French-European-Jews-after-Paris-attacks-Israel-is-your-home-387309

Terror fears driving Jews out of France

“More than 5,000 French Jews pulled up stakes and moved to Israel in the past year following a spike in anti-Semitism and terrorism fears, according to a new report.
The 2015 Paris terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket where four shoppers were murdered has been a catalyst, the Jewish Agency of Israel said in its report. More than 40,000 French Jews have emigrated since 2006. “The aliyah (the act of moving to Israel) of French Jews has been significant over the last decade,” the agency’s Daniel Benhaim told AFP…” Continue reading: Terror fears driving Jews out of France: http://www.calgarysun.com/2017/01/10/terror-fears-driving-jews-out-of-france-report

Terror Fears Drive Jews Out of Nazi Germany

“On the night of November 9, 1938, violence against Jews broke out across the Reich. It appeared to be unplanned…” Continue reading: The “Night of Broken Glass” [“Kristallnacht”] https://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007697

Zionists Warn Jews Nazi Terror Will Only Worsen. (Go To Palestine or Else!)

“The Zionist leadership in the British Mandate of Palestine wrote in February 1938 that according to “a very reliable private source—one which can be traced back to the highest echelons of the SS leadership”, there was “an intention to carry out a genuine and dramatic pogrom in Germany on a large scale in the near future”… Read more: Kristallnacht https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht

Zionists Collaborate With Nazis to Send Jews to Palestine

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Christian Zionism vs The Bible

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Trump & Israel: A Jewish Perspective

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Heroin overdose victims being cannibalized for organs

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cannibalize – to remove parts, equipment, assets, employees, etc., from (an item, product, or business) in order to use them in another: to cannibalize old airplanes for replacement parts.

“An unexpected benefit from the opioid epidemic. The jump in overdose deaths has dramatically increased the number of organs available for transplants…” Continue reading: Drug Overdose Deaths Mean More Organ Transplants http://www.healthline.com/health-news/drug-overdose-deaths-cncrease-organ-transplants

Organ Donations Spike In The Wake Of The Opioid Epidemic https://n.pr/2dMdwpp

I didn’t realize this was going on until I watched the video(s) below this morning.

I realize people who lose a loved one, especially a child, want to think their loved one’s life had meaning.

In the video below, saying this woman saved eight people’s lives by shooting up heroin and overdosing is ridiculous.

She didn’t save anyone. She killed herself and her body was cannibalized for organs.

The (first) video is, to me, very disturbing, because of the way it turns bad behavior into a virtue.

You can be a junkie and save lives!

This is pure nonsense. It appears to be some sort of behavior modification and social engineering, which is designed to get us accept evil, and worse: to embrace evil as good.

What are heroin addicts going to think when they see this sort of thing? Does this give them an incentive to quit shooting up? No. It lets them know some good can come of their addiction. That even when they throw their lives away they can still be heroes.

Are lives lost to heroin overdoses making a difference?

Can you die from a heroin overdose and your life still have meaning?

Did one woman’s heroin overdose save 8 people’s lives?

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The Judgment of Jonah

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“That the conversion which God accepts is an interested one is self-evident. Every conversion is interested. Who can dare to say that his own life and death are of no concern to him? What ridiculous idealism would make us so pure, so spiritual, so objective that we could be converted for any other reason than because we are in danger of death and dangers of all kinds? To claim for oneself an abstract and idealistic conversion of this kind is to pretend to bring to God a valuable sacrifice, a perfect man. It is to want to replace Christ. It is to reach the summit of arrogance. The cry which God hears comes from the depths of the abyss, from sickness and suffering, from the heart which is humbled, bruised, and despairing. This is the cry which produces conversion because things cannot stay as they are, and conversion is a change of route for man. The moment a man decides to change his style of life in this way, the moment he remembers God again, his way which was plunging more and more deeply into the dark is suddenly directed to the light in a dizzy reascent. The truth is that God responds, not to our better feelings, but to the desperate cry of the man who has no other help but God. God responds just because man is in trouble and has nowhere to turn.

“Obviously, when man has somewhere to turn he does not pray to God and God does not come to him. As long as man can invent hopes and methods, he naturally suffers from the pretension that he can solve his own problems. He invents technical instruments, the state, society, money, and science. He also invents idols, magic, philosophy, spiritualism, and all these things give him hope in himself that he can direct his own life and control his destiny. They all cause him to turn his back on God. As long as there is a glimmer of confidence in these means man prefers to stake his life on them rather than handing it over to God. When the sailors tried to save the ship by their nautical skill, Jonah slept. All these aids had to be shattered, all solutions blocked, and man’s possibilities hopelessly outclassed by the power of the challenge, to cause Jonah to return to God. Only when man has lost the vast apparatus of civilization, in personal response, does man remember God.”

Jacques Ellul, The Judgment of Jonah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971) pp. 56-57

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