A few weeks back, I wasn’t well. I’ll spare you the details but after three days of dehydration and very little food I wasn’t at peak form. The main way this showed was in the bizarre, often conflicting, emotions I felt.
My three-year-old niece once got very tired and a bit overwhelmed at a park. The conversation between her and my brother went like this:
Brother: Do you want to get off the swing?
Brother: Do you want to stay on the swing?
Brother: Do you want me to help you off?
Brother: Do you want me to push you?
Brother: Do you want to do it yourself?
Well, folks that was me. I was an exhausted and overwhelmed child, without the cognitive energy to maintain any balanced emotional responses. The absurd and unsettling feelings I was having was pretty comical.
I started when I watched a video about Aleppo. Yes, a distressed emotional response to the atrocities there is perfectly normal. You’d have to be pretty hardened not to feel something. But that was just the beginning of the emotional roller coaster that was that day.
I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and I was getting sad that I was missing out on Christmas in the UK. I know I wrote that Want for nothing post, but when you’re tired and irrational, those things mean nothing. I decided I missed mince pies. I don’t really like mince pies. I mean, I can eat them, but I could take them or leave them really. But then I remembered something else… Wensleydale and cranberry cheese. So, I started feeling homesick and decided I wanted to go home.
However, upon deciding that, it dawned upon me that to go home, I’d have to leave Cambodia. I thought about all the things I’d miss: the scenery, the school, my friends, Vitou and his family… Then I realised that this will happen in about seven months. So I cried because I didn’t want to go home. This was all because, 30 second earlier, I did want to go home.
So, I did what any fully grown, 28-year-old man does in this situation. I called my mum. I told her that I was ill and I was emotional. (I did ask, “I’ve got stomach cramps, and I’m nauseous and I’m crying all the time. Is this what a period is like?” If it is, then men are wusses and I would not have survived being a woman.) She expressed as much sympathy as you could to a pathetic grown-man with a stomach bug. It seemed to work.
Fortunately, I recovered within three days. Although, I had very low energy levels for a week afterwards and a disrupted sleep pattern (after sleeping about 72 consecutive hours). Also, my emotional state is back to it’s relatively settled, laid-back self. I’m glad that this is the first major spell of illness I’ve had here, and I think I’ve escaped relatively lightly, even if at the time I thought I was dying.