Endings can be emotional. Emotional endings to emotional films can be emotional too.
So when it’s the emotional ending (for now) of a film franchise that’s been going for over a decade, some people are going to take it emotionally, naturally.
Perhaps it’s because they feel a genuine attachment to the films, and are mourning not just the death of certain characters but the death of the franchise (for now). Or perhaps they’re just so overstimulated by the hype surrounding the film and the sugar in their giant cinema snacks they can’t process what is happening in front of their eyes and the only reaction they can muster is to sob uncontrollably. Or perhaps they just want everyone around them to know that these films mean more to them than they do to you, as if it’s a competition. Who knows.
A 21-year-old woman in Ningbo, China, fell into one of the above categories this week as she watched Avengers: Endgame and was so overcome with emotion she had to be hospitalised.
The young woman, named Xiaoli, was uncontrollably sobbing by the end of the film, so much so she started to display the symptoms of hyperventilation. She was having difficulty breathing, while her hands and feet had also become numb to the point where she couldn’t stretch out her fingers, according to the Shanghaiist.
Xiaoli was taken to hospital and given oxygen to help control her breathing and calm her down.
Yuan Liyan, an emergency doctor at the Mingzhou Hospital of Zhejiang University, said, via China News (translated):
I saw that the patient had been breathing heavily, and according to the description from her peers, we thought that she her crying had caused ‘hyperventilation’. We immediately gave her oxygen and relaxed her emotions by appeasement, reducing her hyperventilation symptoms.
Xiaoli symptoms gradually improved, and she was allowed to go home later that day.
According to the NHS, hyperventilation means breathing in more air than your body needs. It can be common during panic attacks, but is sometimes part of the body’s response to threatening situations – providing the muscles with more oxygen means it is prepared for the flight or fight response.
However, by over-breathing, too much oxygen to the lungs can upset the balance of gases. Because the lungs retain a small amount of carbon dioxide, if you breathe in too much air too often, the carbon dioxide is pushed out, and when this happens it can feel difficult breathing, your heart rate can increase and you can experience numbness in your hands and feet.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.