Fear of the bomb


Now as you may know reader I am currently going through a systematic analysis of memory and my state of mind. I’m looking after my mental health. In this adventure, I have the help of a qualified counsellor. Recently, and perhaps since a trip to Sheffield last year (later) this has been accentuated, I have been confronting a serious and historic fear of the bomb…you know THE bomb, the big one, nuclear war between the US and the Soviets, destruction of all human life in an unparalleled conflagration. This was from about the age of 10 onwards I think, perhaps the year I became conscious of this impending doom. Not being allowed to see the BBC’s drama Threads (set in Sheffield) at 13 only made it more difficult. War Games only distracted me cos I wanted to be cool like he was. This fear has created within me a sense that there is no future, no point in thinking about the future because it is going to happen. One of them would press the button and we’d all be dead…in about 8 minutes. Perhaps this post is a way of getting rid of some of this anxiety too.

I spent manys the night at about this age thinking that I would not wake up. The prayer that ends “…and if I die before I wake….” seemed to stick with me as significant for longer than my faith in any god. I lived near an airport as a we’en and believed that this would be one of the main targets for those darn Russkies. Bright light in the south? There it goes! I had visions of a post-nuclear world where my teeth and hair all fell out and everything was grey. Isn’t that awful? I really wanted to see When the Wind Blows because I think I became fascinated what would happen after the end times. Last year, I got to watch clips from Threads on YouTube. Christ, that is grim. I urge you not to look at it: your mental health is too valuable. Right now, I’m realising that there are too many roses to smell to dwell on fetishising this.

In the expression of this fear, I have noticed that my present gets compressed and more importantly unexamined, left unfelt. Fear of what might happen in the future leads me to think that I can only spend my present worrying about the future that will inevitably be explosive. All I have to do is arrange circumstances now so the future will be less bad. Not living in the present, I felt compelled to try and arrange the present so that the impending doom could be slightly less fucking awful than it was going to be. What’s worse is that this also seeped into my relationships with other people. Someone disagrees with me and I turn around from my position so that what happens in the future can be all sweetness and light….the future becomes less doom – laden then you see? Disapproval means anger which means an explosion and this must not happen. All I have to do is please people and the future turns out ok. But it is always the future, never enjoying the present.

So then this morning I googled the phrases ‘fear of nuclear war’ and ‘mental health’ and got this. It doesn’t help my therapeutic process but it might be good to know that other people have formally studied this. It’s not all in my head you know.

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2 thoughts on “Fear of the bomb

  1. I hear ya. Back then it was almost a case of “when”, rather than “if”. I think a lot of kids back then would have shared your fears. You mentioned “Threads” – jesus, that was truly a horrific piece of television. I remember seeing it as an 12 year old and being scared shitless for a month. Very very graphic, and extremely grim. You should read the plot synopsis on wikipedia. It’s a veritable laugh-a-minute…(NOT). You should also check out Stanislav Petrov on wikipedia. I think people growing up nowadays don’t realise how much the world was on edge back in the 80’s.

    Good blog by the way.

  2. Thanks Anon. Read the ploy synopsis a while back and there are a few hardcore fans of apocalypse out there. That takes dedication.

    What spurred me on to this post was seeing a Channel 4 documentary on the whole Able Archer scenario about a fortnight ago. Petrov’s plight since that time reflects his own country’s.

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