It's hard to describe. Scratch that. It's darn near impossible to describe how it feels when it finally sinks in - that you're going to be okay. In the instant that you realize it, you feel a rush of emotions and memories that are intertwined so thoroughly that it is difficult to tell them apart.
For the past few weeks, you've known the hunger and thirst that comes with desperate survival. You've come to know and understand that thing called paralyzing, gripping fear that came with the danger. Last of all, you now know what real discomfort feels like - it feels like swarms of insects biting you, cramped spaces, and air so humid that you can hardly breathe.
After rescue, however, everything changes. You're thrust back into the real world where not everything is a life or death struggle, not every choice could be fatal. The strange experience continues as you go through and examine those new feelings that come to you as you step back into your old life.
The foremost of those, of course, is relief. Relieved that you're alive, relieved that your parents won't have to grieve your loss, or that you didn't have to bury a friend. Not normal relief, but all-encompassing, overwhelming relief that could make you pass out cold if you thought about it too much.
Lucky. Yeah, you definitely feel lucky as you try not to think about how things could have gone so tragically wrong, so many times. If your plans hadn't worked, if you had made just the slightest of mistakes…
And finally, most importantly, you are thankful. Sincerely thankful for the most simple things, the ones you used to take for granted. It's a miracle that you can have real food, with no effort at all on your part. It's a blessing that you no longer have to be scared of killers residing on your tiny little island, where they may stumble on your campsite at any moment. And it's an absolute luxury to be able to lay cozily in an actual bed, with covers that protect you and keep you warm during the night.
It's the thankfulness that you'll never forget, even as the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years. Good days, bad days - no matter what, every moment is to be cherished. After all, you alone know how close you came to not being here at all.