By Leona Thomas
If I visit Delhi in India I always stay with my wonderful friend in Majnu Ka Tilla. I love my friend but his home is basic.
The main room is the bedroom by night and the lounge by day. You can choose to sit on one of 2 large mattresses or the floor. The kitchen is small and the bathroom is out of the house altogether. It seems to house a million mosquitos. There is a definite knack for closing the door from the outside too...
The thing about having one main living space is that my friend and I would be together a lot. We get on really well but often we would be together for up to 22 hours in a day.
One weekend I woke up with cravings. I bought coca cola and chocolate. There were many trips to the corner shop. Sometime chocolate, sometimes biscuits, always coca cola. Finally on Sunday it occurred to me that I was feeling quite stressed.
Which was strange, as nothing had happened to give me any stress!
My friend was calm enough although I noticed he seemed to be smoking more cigarettes than normal.. so it wasn't until Sunday evening that I finally thought to ask him if anything had happened to upset him.
He told me that on Friday night he had discovered that a very large sum of money had been stolen from him. It had been given to someone for safekeeping but it was now gone. And he had no idea what he could do. He had been worrying all weekend but he hadn't said anything to me.
And I had been stuffing sugar in my mouth all weekend - my classic stress response.
It was my friend's stress but because we were living and sleeping in the same room his stress energy was all around me. And I felt it as if it was my own.
As soon as I realised he had the problem I stopped getting the stress symptoms!
Immediately I felt fine again.
My friend never did recover the stolen money. But I was able to stay relaxed now that I had realised the source of my discomfort was actually my friend and not me!