“The nightmares started in 2013. The more I talked about it, the worse it got. At night it was like a flood that totally overwhelmed me.” As time went on, he became a hostage of his symptoms—panic attacks, fear of loud noises and crowds, and disrupted sleep, sleeping only an average of two hours a night.
To get on with his life, Dan started his own production company, produced television events, and began acting in some fringe Tel Aviv plays. Many of his traumatic experiences began to resurface during his time in the theatre. One play was set to be performed in Hebron. Dan refused to go. “My worst time in the IDF was in Hebron. I couldn’t go back there.”
He has been in therapy for the past seven years—struggling to overcome his trauma. “PTSD is an invisible disability. People don’t understand why you have this problem. They ask a lot of questions. They think they can talk freely to you about it.”
After Dan was partnered with Valley, he became a different person. “Valley changed my understanding of life. She walks next to me and with me. When I feel the world raging against me, she is there. Licking me when my anxiety makes me cry. Calming me when I am furious about myself and society.”
Dan and Valley go to the supermarket together, to cafes and malls, on escalators. “I don’t feel vulnerable anymore when Valley is with me. I am never alone. I feel completely safe just knowing she is there.”