Deepened Dent

How deep is your dent?

Deepend Dent

Observing people getting on and off the train, it’s fascinating how people try to kill time while onboard. I can’t blame them. Many of them may have just spent 8 hours of their day from work, mostly working for BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing). We locally call them call centers. It’s where Western countries outsource a part of their operation to save cost. While the compensation may be handsome, the pressure can be unforgiving. This is especially true if one works graveyard shift.

So, people on the train just scroll through their social media feeds. You could tell by their eyes that they just want to go home and rest. There’s one particular scene that catches my attention on the train, though. It’s a security guard who just got off his shift. You could tell by the dark blue trousers and the leader black shoes he’s sporting. Plus, the plain white t-shirt must have been the undershirt for his uniform.

One thing about him is that he is holding his vape tightly. I’m not a smoker myself, but seeing someone grasping the vape so tight may mean that he badly wants to smoke. He’s cleaving his palm to the vape he might as well surgically graft the device on his hand. He must just be enduring the urge to smoke as he sits there patiently waiting for his stop to arrive. I don’t know how to react to the scene, but I find it insightful.

Being dependent on something, worse if one is addicted, can affect the quality of one’s life. Dependency can be an emotional crutch with which one comforts himself from the stresses he may be undergoing. This may not be sustainable, though. If one is dependent on hard addictions, it can take toll on his health. Alcohol can destroy one’s liver. Cigarettes can damage the lungs. Synthetic drugs can alter one’s brain wiring. The consequences can be mind-altering.

Dependency on something can be deeply rooted, especially when one got hooked to the substance at a very young age. It’s like a “deepened dent” on an automobile that is very difficult to undo. Imagine that you have bought a new car. You drive it for a week, and it got hit by a falling debris. The dent the debris left is so deep that you wonder whether you would just change the whole bodypart. If you decide to have it repaired, the dent may leave a permanent mark. You may not be able to undo the damage. Therefore, you are between a rock and a hard place: will you spend an arm and a leg to buy a whole new part, or would you have it remodeled but would still carry the mark of the deepened dent? Either way, there is a price to pay. Neither choice is pleasant.

In the same vein (pun intended), quitting drug addiction/dependency (Deepened Dentsy) can be very tough. Apart from the already existing physical damage, the emotional and metal toll can be devastating as well. I met people who are used to be deepened dent (dependent) on substances. They struggled with their self-esteem gravely. One lady I met was a medical doctor. She attends these Narcotics Anonymous meetings to have support system. I have not heard about her lately, but at the time I met her, I could sense her struggle.

You may think that dependency is only confined to hard addictions. There are also soft addictions. These are not that outright harmful, but these can be insidious as well. Did you know that gossiping, workaholism, excessive shopping, and other acts that make one feel good for dopamine hit can be considered addiction or dependency? Yes, you have read it right. If you find yourself doing something from which you derive great satisfaction to avoid stress can be tagged an addiction.

Of course this is a gray area where it’s debatable. I think only you and I can answer whether we have a dependency on something, be it a substance such as food, or an activity such as overworking. Haven’t you heard about the phrase “stress eating”? Or haven’t you remembered the typical workaholic whose health and family life suffers? As time goes by, this workaholic just doubles down on his career, knowing that it’s the only thing that defines him as a person. This is especially true if all other areas of his life has already been a failure.

Yes, dependency can be pernicious. While hard addictions are plaguing a large number of us, these soft addictions can be tricky. This is because since soft addictions are not considered clinically destructive and does not exist in some diagnostic convention, it can be difficult to address. In the typical addiction, the rehabilitation is not possible until the sufferer admits to himself that he has a problem. If he does not admit it, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to address the issue. In soft addictions where there is no medical diagnosis, it’s even elusive for the sufferer to admit it. She may justify the behavior as a normal way for her to express herself, in the case of shopaholic.

Can you imagine an urban couple both suffering from hard and soft addictions? Imagine the scenario: the husband is a high-functioning alcoholic. And if the wife is always on a shopping spree, could she be tagged as a “high-fashioning shopaholic”? While the puns can be fun, the hazards are real. Yes, hard addictions can devastate us. But so do soft addictions. They can distract us from addressing our personal problems head on. It’s one of the worst forms of self-deception.

Just like that car owner whose automobile got hit by a falling debris, we may need to take a hard look at ourselves and sever that limb that has become gangrenous from becoming dependent (like a deepened dent) on something, be it a substance such as food and chemical, or a subtle activity that can take toll on our overall health. Whatever our resolve is, it’s ours to make. And we cannot outsource it somewhere just because we find it expensive to do it inhouse.

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