First, Pepys personalized the threat. The fire was “a most horrid malicious bloody flame, not like the fine flame of an ordinary fire.”
Afterward, he suffered insomnia. “The fears we have of new troubles and violence’s, and the fear of fire among ourselfs, did keep me awake a good while,” Pepys wrote about a week afterward.
Then came anxiety and vigilance, though his description of riding through smoking parts of London: “A foul evening this was tonight, and mightily troubled to get a coach home; and, which is now my common practice, going over the ruins in the night, I rid with my sword drawn in the Coach.”
Even during the fire he began to forget events during the day — including meals — and he inserted some details afterward in the margin of his diary. He had nightmares afterward, and, writes Daly, “various ideas and physical situations brought forth anxious feelings” for about eight months.
There was also anger at authority, not unlike the anger some modern vets feel toward sub-competent former leaders. When the feckless Lord Mayor complained after the fire that Londoners were just worried about their own lives and property, Pepys noted, “A very weak man he seems to be.”
The great London diarist doesn’t write down a remedy for his condition. Thankfully he doesn’t even seem to notice that he has a condition that would warrant a psychiatric consultation!