Menu

Can’t stop thinking about nuclear war

HomeForumsTough TimesCan’t stop thinking about nuclear war

New Reply
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #407880
    Janel
    Participant

    First, a little backstory: I’m a late 40-sonething woman who endured severe trauma and abuse at the hands of my father until I was 17. As a result I’ve struggled with anxiety, OCD tendencies and dissociative episodes for most of my adult life.

    My anxiety has been an amorphous presence in my life for decades, but many times my mind has fixated on particular fears to the point that I’ve needed inpatient hospitalizations. Since February 24th when Russia invaded Ukraine, all my childhood nightmares about nuclear Holocaust have resurrected and I’ve had trouble functioning in many areas of my life because of it.

    I guess I should add that I’m extremely involved with leftist politics and activism and that I’m very critical of U.S./NATO’s history of imperialism and oppression under the guise of “democracy.” I nearly had a nervous breakdown when we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. I feel a similar sense of rage of powerlessness, now, at this moment, as I watch our government escalate this war to the brink of global annihilation. Billions for war while the unhoused people I help in my city live on sidewalks and have no access to mental health resources, food, healthcare etc.

    I’m not sure there’s a question here. I’m just so sad and scared and not sure what to do. The fact that people aren’t talking about the grimness of our current situation adds to the dystopian Twilight Zone feel and makes me feel so incredibly lonely. Any feedback appreciated.

    #407883
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janel:

    I relate to the “grimness of our current situation,,. the dystopian Twilight Zone feel”- very much so. You are not alone: this is reality. I will reply further in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #407884
    Janel
    Participant

    Thank you, Anita ❤️

    #407907
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janel:

    As you can see, I took way more than 10 hours to reply. As a matter of fact, I postpone replying to your thread all morning and it is only after I ran out of threads to respond to, that I am back to your thread. The reason: the topic scares the h*** out of me and it is never far from my mind for long: global warming (expanding global drought and extreme weather events that are getting worse and more frequent while there is no reality-based reason for optimism) as well as nuclear disaster.

    The fact that people aren’t talking about the grimness of our current situation adds to the dystopian Twilight Zone feel and makes me feel so incredibly lonely“- people are not talking because they too are scared. I see it in real-life. Denying danger lowers anxiety. In cases where there is nothing for an individual to do about a clear-and-present danger… denial has a positive value.

    In regard to the two topics, it’s all in the hands of people in positions of power and not at all in the hands of most people, people like me. Therefore, I see a positive value to denial. I can’t muster full denial, but partial denial as in not thinking about it all the time and accommodating others’ denials by not bringing these two topics up… it’s the kind thing to do.

    I’m a late 40-something woman who endured severe trauma and abuse at the hands of my father until I was 17. As a result I’ve struggled with anxiety, OCD tendencies and dissociative episodes for most of my adult life. My anxiety has been an amorphous presence in my life for decades“- similarly here, add 10 years and substitute father with mother.

    While thinking in the last few years about massive human annihilation as a result of droughts and/ or more recently,  as a result a global nuclear disaster, it became clear to me that my fear of my mother when living with her, and the amorphous presence of my fear of her (I like your phrasing) long after she’s no longer been a clear-and-present danger in my life- has  been more powerful than my fear of the clear and present dangers that currently threaten humanity and all of life on earth.

    Since February 24th when Russia invaded Ukraine, all my childhood nightmares about nuclear Holocaust have resurrected and I’ve had trouble functioning in many areas of my life because of it“- your use of the word holocaust reminds me that when I was a teenager, decades before I was concerned with global warming, and while not having nuclear disaster on my mind, I referred to my childhood as my private holocaust and thought of my mother as my private SS guard.

    I feel a similar sense of rage of powerlessness, now, at this moment, as I watch our government escalate this war to the brink of global annihilation. Billions for war while the unhoused people I help in my city live on sidewalks and have no access to mental health resources, food, healthcare etc.“- I agree. The war industry is an industry like many other industries: its concern is nothing other than financial profit. It is greed (the desire for power in terms of money and otherwise) that is and has been destroying our world, and how scary it is when individuals in very powerful positions are … the most greedy.

    I feel a similar sense of rage…  I’m just so sad and scared and not sure what to do“- rage is closely associated with fear. This is one of the reasons I personally don’t talk about the clear and present dangers to our world with people who cannot make a difference (all the people I know belong to this group): it will make them sad and scared… and angry at me for bringing it up, rageful perhaps.

    This fear though, the fear of the clear and present dangers to us all… it makes me feel more alive: I look out through the window right now, the sun is shining pleasantly, trees, still green… and I think: how lovely, how interesting to have yet another day.

    anita

    #407909
    Janel
    Participant

    Thank you for responding, Anita…as usual, most of what you said resonates. I’ve been reading your insightful and supportive comments for years (I used to have an old account but have lost the login info, hence the new one), and I’m so glad to see you sharing more of your personal bio. The layers of wisdom and empathy make sense to me now.

    I agree with what you said about denial and being human, am of course quite adept at it myself lol. I need to be able to work and thinking about the billions of possible ways to die every single second of every day won’t allow me to do that. My anxiety has been extremely heightened by the way, however, which means I’m spending A LOT of time thinking about the perils of being a human and all the ghoulish ways I and my loved ones could perish. Trauma kids gonna trauma. I guess what is so unsettling is that literally nobody I know is talking about the nuclear brinkmanship we are now seeing play out. And most of my friends and colleagues were absolutely freaking out when COVID emerged. And the war has been going on for months. Why aren’t more people terrified??? I genuinely don’t understand and am tired of finding “support” in musty conspiratorial subreddits.

    #407910
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janel:

    You are welcome and thank you for expressing your appreciation and for being here!

    My anxiety has been extremely heightened by the way, however, which means I’m spending A LOT of time thinking about the perils of being a human“- your experience of life, all of it-  takes place in the distance between your ears. This is where you think and this is where your experience of emotions is made possible, including anxiety.  There are ways to make this distance in-between-the-ears way more peaceful than it is regardless of current global troubles beginning with the intent to make it so.

    When you can’t change what happens in the vast distances of the globe, all that’s left for you to change is what happens in that very short distance between the ears: to no longer suffer unnecessarily, when your suffering benefits no one.

    Most of my friends and colleagues were absolutely freaking out when COVID emerged“- looking back, at least for those not directly affected by Covid deaths, looking back the Covid years almost looks, in retrospect, like the good old years, does it.. in your experience?

    And the war has been going on for months. Why aren’t more people terrified??? I genuinely don’t understand“- you know how terrifying feeling terrified feels like… no wonder people don’t want to be terrified! Back to the option of peace in between the ears regardless of global events and threats… think about it, will you?

    anita

    #407912
    Janel
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I work in healthcare and lost many patients and colleagues to COVID. The all-consuming panic  existential terror I feel now is analogous to how I felt then. Nuclear Holocaust feels unshakeable imminent. I’m so scared and sad.</p>
    I’m terrible at mindfulness and maintaining peace between the ears but am feeling desperate enough to try anything at this point. I’m going to a Quaker Friends Meeting for the first time in years this weekend. I hope it helps.

    Thank you again.

    #407915
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janel:

    You are welcome, Janel (do you remember your screen name in your old thread, and about the month and year where you last posted there? Maybe I can find your old thread).

    Your life has been very much directly affected by Covid deaths, being that working in healthcare, you lost many patients and colleagues to Covid. “most of my friends and colleagues were absolutely freaking out when COVID emerged. And the war has been going on for months. Why aren’t more people terrified???“- if your friends also work in healthcare (I.S.?),  maybe they freaked out when Covid emerged because the virus was right there with them, in the same rooms where they worked, masked, afraid to get infected, seeing others infected and dying. But the war in Ukraine… it is seems far away, happening elsewhere to other people…. something in the news, and there’s always something bad in the news.  Maybe that’s why they freaked out about Covid, but not about the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

    Nuclear Holocaust feels unshakeable imminent. I’m so scared and sad“- I am scared and sad too. You are not alone!

    quaker. org: “Inner Light or Inward Light or Light Within– This is the central concept of Quakerism. Friends may differ on almost any other issue, but they are united in their belief in the presence of an inward source of inspiration and strength… it is a potential force for good in every human being, and [George] Fox has enjoined us to walk cheerfully through the world answering it. The constant presence of the Inner Light assures us of a continuing revelation and a contemporary religion that cannot become obsolete with changing times and the advance of secular knowledge”-

    – I can think of peace in-between the ears as being an inner light, a light within, an inward source of inspiration and strength, a force for good. And imagine walking cheerfully regardless of imminent dangers, being optimistic regardless, substituting panic with cheerfulness… a wild idea?

    anita

     

    #408113
    anita
    Participant

    How are you, Janel?

    anita

    #408252
    Janel
    Participant

    Thanks for asking, Anita. Not great actually. I found reprieve from my despair by spending time with family this weekend, but now that I’m alone with my thoughts and reading terrifying Twitter accounts, my anxiety is unbearable again. And again, the fact that NOBODY in my day to day life seems even a tiny bit worried feels so surreal. Believe me, I’ve asked. I may call a crisis line or something. Or try a guided meditation. Thank you again for being so kind.

    #408254
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janel:

    You are welcome. I am sorry that your anxiety is unbearable again! I am watching the News Hour right now about how the population of salmon has diminished in Alaska because of warming waters (climate change). You are focused on a Nuclear Holocaust, I am more focused on Climate Change: we all focus on different dangers, don’t we?

    anita

    #408255
    Janel
    Participant

    Oh, fear not, I’m distraught over climate change too!

     

    Sending nothing but love and solidarity your way.

    #408257
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janel:

    I can say the same to you, and I do say it: fear not, I’m distraught over the danger of nuclear disaster too! Sending nothing but love and solidarity your way too, Janel. You are not alone… we are together in this!

    anita

     

    #408317
    Roberta
    Participant

    Dear Janel

    I live less than a dozen miles away from a nuclear power plant and a nuclear reprocessing plant (they are in another country) so there are times where I feel very vulnerable, but whilst waiting for something that may never happen, I do what I can to help those around me & my immediate environment to make the best of what is available to me here & now like offering to house Ukranian refugees, plus I am signed up to 38 degrees which can be loosely defined as a political & environmental pressure forum so that I can make my voice heard on worldwide issues.

    How did your Quaker meeting go?….at our local meeting we ponder upon one of the advices & queries each meeting .

    I hope that your anxiety eases.

    kind regards

    Roberta

    #408579
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janel: it’s been a week since you posted last. I am thinking of you, hoping that you take a break from following the news, so that there can be some peace and calm in between-the-ears. How are you???

    anita

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.