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LOIS HENRY: Healing veterans with a wet nose and a tail wag

By LOIS HENRY, The Bakersfield Californian
Saturday, Oct 25 2014 04:00 PM

One of the cruelest legacies of war is that the very thing soldiers crave most -- home -- is something they can often never truly regain.

I've heard veterans explain their feeling as war seeming more "normal" than home.

How do you go to the movies when sitting in the dark with a roomful of strangers could mean certain death? How do you not react when a car blows a tire? How do you go to work every day when you're afraid to sleep at night for the nightmares?

"I had done a lot of 'self-medicating' without even realizing it," said Rob Sager, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan while in the Marine Corps from 1998 through 2003. "I played a lot of video games. It kept me entertained and away from groups of people."

Being anywhere with lots of people made him "wiggy," he said. Isolation, though, is its own trap, often deepening PTSD symptoms.

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