Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast

ADHD and Truck Drivers

May 14, 2021 Chris Harris, The Safety Dawg Season 1 Episode 62
Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast
ADHD and Truck Drivers
Show Notes Transcript

Sherri Lojzer, ANC, CPC, CTC, CBC

Email                 [email protected]
Phone              289-858-2850
Clubhouse   @neurosherri
Instagram    @sherri.Lojzer
Twitter          @SherriLojzer
LinkedIn        @SherriLojzer

Welcome to another episode of the Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast. My name's Chris Harris, this week's guest Sherri Lojzer of MindWave, and we are talking ADHD. How the heck does ADHD relate to truck drivers? I guess you got to listen. Here we go. Sherri. You're welcome. Thank you. And sorry for the audience. We are sitting are six feet apart now, and this is you are my very first person to person interview. That's awesome. I started the pawedcast before COVID, but had done the always remotely until we had our technical difficulties and you live close to, he came into the see ME. So, awesome. Welcome for the audience. We are talking about truck driving today, but Sherri's going to introduce herself and let you know, because she has an unusual background and we're going to be talking about ADHD and how it applies to driving Sherri. What is your background? Thank you, Q. Yeah, so I am actually a certified applied neuroscience coach. So certified professional coach is one piece of that. And the other piece of that is the applied neuroscience. So essentially what that means is the applied neuroscience is really about understanding how our brains work and how it influences what we do and how we behave on a regular basis. And I also have certifications in cognitive behavioral coaching as well as corporate training, amongst a few other things around communication. And so I primarily work with entrepreneurs who are ADHD, and those sometimes are diagnosed and sometimes are not diagnosed, but they usually recognize the symptoms or what we call the traits of being ADHD. And those are who I work with usually. Well, and we've got to give a shout out to your company, MindWave Blind, wave coaching, it mind way of consulting. So we go by mind wave co. So I have a, a partner who does some work with me as well. She works sort of in the marketing arena and we've just brought on a freelance graphic designer as well. Who's going to be doing some work with us so that we can kind of support the entrepreneurs that we work with really well. And my area is working with people directly, the leaders, the business owners, entrepreneurs, whoever they are, And basically Southern Ontario. I know you're in Branford. So the Hamilton Nagra Kitchener, how far do you go? As far as zoom goes, could you hear that? As far as zoom, you can reach out to Sherri, how does all of this background coaching entrepreneurs, how does this relate to truck driving? It's really an interesting thing because through my experiences in working with people, one of the things that started to float to the surface was realizing the impacts on a daily basis of people with ADHD quite often undiagnosed. And one of the really big areas of impact was around their driving. And interestingly enough, the choice to become a truck driver or any industry really where it's a more of a isolated type job, you do have a tendency to see a higher rate of people who have ADHD traits. And so I'll give you an example of some of those that might sort of help to clarify that, right? So ADHD is a difference in the way that our brain is wired. We call it neuro-diversity where there's ADHD. Oh, thank you. It is a combination of three things or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And it's characterized by either an inattentive type, a hyperactive type or a combination of the two, An inattentive truck driver might be a pro here and inattentive director. That would definitely be a problem. But so two would somebody who was hyperactive. Yeah. So if we kind of look at those two traits, a little bit, inattentive really talks about the inability to stay focused on a particular thing. For a period of time. I personally I'm ADHD, primarily an inattentive type, but I do experience some of the hyperactivity traits that inattentive is oftentimes to have difficulty. Maybe I'm having a conversation with you and you're telling me something really important and I'm hearing the words, but they're not really processing in my brain. And so now five seconds later, I've completely forgotten what you said to me. Yeah, It's not happening, but So that's one of the really big challenges. And so when it comes to having to stay focused on a particular task or consistently follow a structured way of doing things, it can be a little bit troublesome. So of course doing you're driving. Now, I will say that I did actually at one time have my B license. I did drive a school bus many, many, many years ago when my 21 year old was a baby. And so I'm familiar with the circle check process and some concepts around that, but I'm also aware because my dad was a truck driver as well. So I have some familiarity around the industry as a person who's driving a vehicle, that's that large, knowing that right from circle check, where you need to make sure that you get every single one of those details. That can be a little bit difficult. It's hard for me to stay focused on every single step, along the way and not miss them sometimes. So for me to make sure that I have systems in place, but if someone came up and spoke to me in the middle of my circle, Ugh, I have to start all over from the beginning. And it may not be so pronounced for some people. They may notice it a little bit, but not recognize what it is. There's a train of thought and it's suddenly interrupted and they don't realize that that's happening. My worst one is I realized I need to do something, pick my phone up to do it. But I noticed there's a notification on there. If I check that notification before I do what I picked my phone up for, I'm never going to remember why I picked it up. Well, that happens to me frequently. No, I usually remember five or 10 minutes later, but once something else prompts you to remember it, right? I mean, it happened the other night, just who won the hockey game, pick my phone up. Oh, check the notifications. Why did I pick my phone up and just had no clue? And it's gone. Absolutely. And, and the truth is, is that oftentimes why it is not necessarily identified, first of all, there's actually a couple of reasons. One of them is if it's a mild enough symptom, people recognize that that's something that everybody experiences from time to time, right? It doesn't matter who it is. You'll always hear people talk about the fact that they, you know, went to do something and then they forgot what it was. So, you know, they, you know, take 10 steps back to where you were to see if you can remember what it was. So even at what we would call neuro-typical. So not someone who has not got the unique qualities of being ADHD can experience some of the same symptoms or the same traits, but they're typically experiencing them at very low levels. Inattentive type is also a bit of a challenge because the hyperactive type gets all the attention, right? Those are the kids in school who couldn't stay in their seats. They couldn't stay focused in class, but they were also very disruptive of the rest of the class. They were often physical, often getting into trouble, doing things. They probably shouldn't have been doing, getting into things they shouldn't be doing. And they're very, very high speed, right? So you can definitely pick those out. And usually they're flagged through the education system, right? So the teachers recognize this inattentive can quite often be interpreted as something else. It could be interpreted as somebody who's just being very introverted. It could be introverted. They're not really paying attention in class, which is a common thing that we hear as kids. It could be that there's some question about how smart they are. They're just not that bright or they're probably just going to have a basic job when they grow up is the perception that is created. When in fact it's very common for people who are ADHD to be quite bright. In fact, our brains have to process a whole lot more than a neuro-typical brain. And so it's just misunderstood. And often that inattentive type is missed in a diagnosis. So you, you said a new word neuro-typical all right. So you to explain that, Sherri, what is neuro-typical Okay. That's a great question. So when we talk about neuro-typical versus neurodivergent neuro-typical neuro-typical, which clearly is occasionally hard to say is really generally considered to be the average person's brain wiring. It's someone who is not experiencing the extremes of what ADHD looks like. So neurodivergent is where we would refer to someone whose brain is developed a little bit differently. And so you will see those traits have things like ADHD, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia, and even in the extremes, things like autism and Tourette's as well would fall under neurodivergent. There is this concept that the average population is neuro-typical, but the numbers of people that are being recognized as being neuro divergent are growing only because we're recognizing more of them, more of the symptoms, more of the, the people in, in how they interact in our world. And so that balance point is much closer than it used to be anywhere from 35 to 55% of the population is in fact neurodivergent. And so you're saying, because truck drivers are what I hear, you're saying, sorry, is truck drivers a part of the normal population? So we could, should be able to fully expect that somewhere between 35 and you said 47, 35 and 55%. However, if you were talking about what was happening in school, if you labeled me as slow or unintelligent, when I was in grade school, I could probably live up to that, even though I was quite intelligent, which as you were saying, many ADH D people are quite intelligent and have to do a lot of processing. So if I lived up to the low expectations and fulfilled those, I could easily be a brilliant person and become a truck driver. Absolutely. And you probably have many of them who are one of the reason why I see that number much higher in entrepreneurs is because we have a tendency to struggle more with communication and conflict resolution with people, people with ADHD have a tendency to be more likely to be sensitive to the interactions of others and especially judgment and questioning whether someone's right or wrong. And in fact, For sure. So, so there is actually what we call rejection, sensitivity, dysphoria, and rejection sensitivity dysphoria is really that extreme. So if you take the example of the neuro-typical person experiences, emotions on a scale of say one to 10, but someone who's, neurodivergent, someone who's ADHD experienced the experiences, those more like somewhere between negative 30 and 75 on that same scale. So you can imagine the intense reactions to almost anything, just, you know, some kind of a rejection, some kind of a judgment question about whether or not there's knowledge or if you know what you're doing. So those people have a tendency to look for more independent roles in society, in their jobs. So you would see people seeking out something where they didn't have to be challenged by others in their roles. Entrepreneurs are a perfect example. Most people who are entrepreneurs have worked for other people and then realize they don't like working for other people. And so they choose to strike out on their own. So there are many, many other jobs where people are doing the same thing and driving truck is quite often one of those, it's a very solitary role most of the time, unless you're driving a teams, but it's a quite solitary role. And the nice thing about that is you don't have anybody to argue with. There's no one to challenge whether or not you're doing it the right way or the wrong way. And so truck drivers are quite often very similar to entrepreneurs in that respect. And the other part of that, I'm just thinking when a dispatcher talks negatively to a truck driver, they would be much more impacted than the normal human being. And this happens way too frequently where a dispatcher would say something negative to a truck driver. And by the time the truck driver comes back from his trip, he's ready to quit because, and nobody really understands it, but this would at least go part of the way to explain why the effects of truck drivers so much more. So can you just say that again? And then we'll get into trip planning and some of the other things that truck drivers have to Yeah, for sure. It's actually very directly related. And the reason for that is because the average person who is interacting with people throughout the course of their day is also interacting with a number of other things during the course of their day, likely where I may go to the office and have a run in with a colleague. I don't like something they said to me, but then I have lots of other things to take my attention away from that. And I have other people to talk to and communicate throughout the course of the day. And so inevitably you're likely going to sort of see that emotional reaction dissipate. There are other things to attract your attention, but for someone who's a truck driver, for example, or anyone who works in a solitary position, that's the last thing that happened where maybe that's the most significant thing that happened before they started their trip that day. And so now it's on their mind. And unfortunately, one of the other things that quite often happens is that we, we do this sort of cycling through thoughts on a regular basis. And unfortunately we have very racing minds. So as recycling through these thoughts, we're unfortunately cycling through a ruminating, in fact, on something negative that may have happened. That's typically what that definition is around is negative things. And so the more that they ruminate, the more that it's building up, that emotional reaction to it. And so, and I'm like go crazy into this explanation, but imagine that every day you start off with a bucket and you can pour emotions in there over the course of the day. And every time you pour more emotions in there, negative ones or what we perceive negatively, you know, they fill up and fill up a little bit more. Usually throughout the course of the day, we find ways to pour a little bit out. So there's more room to tolerate any other additional negative emotions. The problem is is that when you don't have those other outlets and you're in your truck all day long, and there's nothing else to focus on and you're in your head the whole time, because there's nobody else to talk to. And no one to talk you out of that Headspace, you just keep filling that bucket with more and more emotions and it's getting worse and worse than eventually it just overflows. And would that overflowing be road rage? Absolutely. Or it could potentially be. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And, and it may not necessarily be road rage, but it could very well be that they get to their first stop where they're maybe dropping stuff and they have an encounter with a person there. And that goes negatively, whether it's because of, you know, what's been happening internally or who knows what else? That negative reaction is only going to make things worse and they don't have that outlet to talk them down off that ledge. Yeah. Or the spouse calls and says, Hey, the plumbing's leaking or how are we going to make the payment this month? What, whatever, just piling on, you know, so it's more difficult for an ADA, a D H D person to cope with those things. And many of them would choose solitary jobs. Like you said, entrepreneurs and truck drivers. My God, we got to have probably more in our industry than the average population because of the type of work that we have. Yeah. And, and it is something that I do see amongst entrepreneurs. If I took a room full of 10 to 15 of them, you know, the higher average is definitely around them showing signs of being ADHD, even if they're not diagnosed. In fact, I have a couple of groups that I work with specifically, and in that group, those people didn't necessarily come together because they were ADHD. They came together because they're entrepreneurs, but the average is actually about 90% in those groups. And to some extent that may be because they're recognizing that their coping skills are not getting them through. And that's why they're seeking out the extra support. But the learning, the coping skills is definitely more challenging for someone with ADHD than it would be for a neuro-typical person. That's an interesting, but I know that you've got to get going. We have a pawedcast, you are launching a pawedcast soon. What's the name of it? The name of the pawedcast is going to be scatter I'm sure. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I'm really looking forward to it because what I'm going to be doing is interviewing people who are leaders or entrepreneurs already, who live with ADHD and some will be diagnosed and some will not be diagnosed, but it's really about the experience that they have living with the traits of ADHD. And so what we're going to be doing is not only doing a little bit of an interview with them directly, but then I'm also going to be providing some of the applied neuroscience pieces to help those particular entrepreneurs understand for themselves, but also for the listeners to be able to understand what's happening with that person. Now, if I was a truck driver and I thought maybe I had ADHD, what would some of the signs be? And what could I do about it? Yeah. And those are really important questions. It often is not something that people seek out until something clicks for them and they go, Hey, wait a second. So fortunately there is a document that you can find pretty readily actually on the internet. It's the adult self reporting quiz. And there are a couple of Canadian resources, the website, the Canadian ADHD resource Alliance, I think is one of them. And then there's another one that's, <inaudible>, We'll put those in the links below shirt, I'll send them. And certainly I can actually send you a copy of that as well. So you could share that. And I don't think I have it on my website currently, but I'll, I'll be adding it up there soon. And it's a fairly short survey that really just asks some of the key questions. It's a great starting point, but I do want to make sure that people understand, first of all, there are a lot of other physical illnesses that can create some of the traits that we experience in ADHD. So it's really important to go through that full process of a diagnosis. And that actually includes a lot of different pieces. So they do, they're very physical, lots of family history questions, because the percentage of people who have ADHD, who have a parent is significant. They want to understand about birth because 70% of ADHD is diagnosed because of genetics. But 25% is believed to, because of sort of what you call traumatic childbirth, which isn't really as bad as it sounds. But so there are a lot of pieces in that diagnosis process, but there are definitely resources online to discover whether or not. So some of the things that someone with ADHD might recognize for themselves will be the basics, right? The inability to stay focused on a task for a consistent period of time without feeling that the attention is broken. A lot of forgetfulness, things like feeling hyperactive, so racing mind, but also not able to sit still our ADHD friends who are on the hyperactive side, have a tendency to be the ni bouncers or the pen clickers, or they have that crazy trait that everybody's like, will you stop? So that doesn't necessarily mean that that person is ADHD though. Again, there could be other things behind that, right? So those would be some of the really obvious things. What I tell people is there are a lot of hidden symptoms. So things like time blindness, this is one that right now is really big for a lot of people. I find this, I jokingly say the only day of the week. I know when it is, is actually Fridays, but that timeline, this is our ability to hyper-focus. And so we get hyper-focused in on something and we lose track of time, but we also, we're not good at planning. And so understanding how to plan something and how much time it will take to do that particular activity can be a bit of a challenge so that timeline, this can apply to almost anything and everything, but they're probably the person who is always late. I'm never on time for anything. Even if you give them the 15 minute buffer window that we learned to give. So that time blindness is really, really key. We have a real deficit around working memory. So that is the, I picked up my phone. I had totally forgotten what I was going to do with it. Mid-sentence I mean, sorry, I'm just thinking for a truck driver, he looks at his GPS and it says, you know, travel 10 miles and take exit 48. You drive five minutes. So yeah, that's absolutely. And, and we all process differently even in that neurodivergent world. So, you know, there are some people who may be dyslexic who have this brilliant ability to remember numbers. I do not. So numbers will throw me off every time I can remember for about this long. So depends on what that information is that needs to be stored. And that person's individual neuro-diversity, but absolutely. And I, I I'll use playing Euchre as an example. I don't know if you play Euchre or not, but if I, my friends are playing Euchre with me, I will probably ask 72 times through one game what's from yet if I have a conversation. So I, I met a gentleman through one of my webinars just this week and he was in a group that I held earlier today when he came on, he, I I'm sure he was testing, but he said to me, do you remember what I said in that? And I just rhymed off all of the specifics. And he was like, I can't believe you remembered all that. But again, I, people is my thing. So that's what I remember. I can, hyper-focus on what someone tells me about who they, and what they experience, especially with their ADHD experience. But again, don't ask me to remember numbers. So the last thing, what should a truck driver take away from today's conversation? Yeah. There's so many things that I know it's hard to boil it down, but I think what's really important is this there's not, there has often been a stigma behind being ADHD. And the reason for that is because people perceive this in a negative way. They look at this as a deficit because of course, attention deficit is the way that one side of that was named. But the truth is, is that on the opposite side of the challenges are extraordinarily incredible skills that we develop. So we call them superpowers and that ability to hyper focus on something that's of interest to us versus not being able to concentrate is one of those things that we're able to do. There's a whole explanation behind that dopamine thing in our heads, but I won't go into that, but we really possess these superpowers as a result of, and, and actually I can share with you, I have a sheet that I tend to send out to people that I call superpowers. And you've got to go through that sheet and recognize what the positives are. There are things that as someone who is neurodivergent, you can do in a unique way that most other people cannot do. Neurotypicals can't do it. And so I want people to recognize that it's not a bad thing. It's just different. And so we can choose what we do with that information. But what's most important is that we are at risk for things like chronic illnesses. We're at risk for earlier death. We are at risk for mental health issues when we aren't conscious of those potential traits from ADHD. And so recognizing it and being able to own it for ourselves is extremely empowering. And I know that lots of truck drivers and lots of entrepreneurs don't want to admit where there's an area of challenge for them, because it's just not in our nature. But the truth is is that the more that we're able to own that and do something with it, the more likely we are to be successful, the more likely we are to build strategies that are going to help us to do things that we before perhaps couldn't have completed. And it also helps for other people to be able to recognize that it's just different. It's not wrong and it's not broken. It's just different. And with that, Sherri, thanks so much for coming on the show. Thank you. This was fantastic. And I'm so glad that I was your first in-house guest. That was a great interview with Sherri of mind, wave talking about truck drivers and a B H D. All right. There's some interesting links down below click like and subscribe. Thanks very much for tuning in and talk to you again next week. This is Chris Harris, the dog on a trucking pawedcast. We're out. I hope you love the show as much as I did. Please leave us a, like a thumbs up a review, a comment, a rating. If it is, thank you so much. And I do really appreciate your time and join us again next week for another exciting interview.