Welcome to the forum, DrPancake.
Fear of hell and damnation was very real to me when I was a Christian.
Same here. I didn't feel "saved" back then. I would go to sleep almost every night in terror of the thought that I hadn't been "faithful" or "righteous" enough and that I'd end up in Hell. And there would be no comforting message from GodJesus suggesting otherwise, so the fear persisted.
I've heard people refer to Hell as "just separation from God" or "the flames are a metaphor", and I just shake my head.
Children aren't being taught to fear a metaphor
They're being told they'll be burned and tortured by monsters, forever, and that this a real consequence for disbelief/sin.
But thankfully the illusion is falling apart for me. I've decided I'm not going to live in fear of this obvious control method anymore.
If there's a good god, he wouldn't have a Hell. And if there is an evil god who will dump people in a cosmic incinerator for not meeting the right requirements, then I'd say all humanity is f-ed.