At some point, you start thinking, “I’m going to go back home… what’s going to happen then?” For awhile all you can really think about is getting home; but eventually you wonder what will come after that initial triumphal, relieved step off the plane. But everyone knows stories about veterans that come home just to have things fall apart.
But that said, there’s another dangerous trap to fall into– that everyone comes home and falls apart. The “dysfunctional veteran” meme can be as damaging and as problematic as any actual combat stress reaction. A lot of veterans come back home and re-integrate just fine. Do we have some extra things to think about, things non-veterans don’t have to think about? Sure. Do we sometimes have introspection and maybe melancholy memories? Of course. To go through something like this and not be affected, well… that would be truly crazy.
The road back can be rocky; that can be expected. But it doesn’t mean everyone breaks down.