“Shall I shoot?”… “No don’t shoot”… I’m going to shoot”… “Don’t shoot!”
Rapid fire yelling within the confines of a vehicle stuck in the middle of stalled traffic, facing an unknown person wearing a full burqa peering into the car. Inches away from the driver’s face, a large hand pressed against the window.
“We didn’t know if they were male or female or what was about to happen, but we were absolutely sure that if we shot this person, the crowd, including the armed policemen nearby, would turn on us and there’d be no escape.”
In 2004, Lieutenant Colonel William Blaikie shipped out to Afghanistan, to head up a team dedicated to rebuilding the country after the war. As part of the New Zealand Defence Force, his skills lay in intelligence and communications – his mission was to form a team, develop and implement plans to work with USA and Coalition partners to help get Afghanistan back on its feet.
Bill experienced situations that were beyond tense, often facing life and death situations and decision making that required deep and quick thinking, based on not always having enough information at hand. On his return home to New Zealand, his journey through coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder began, and the nightmares were not limited to sleep time.
Everything has remained at life and death levels for Bill, and this book details how he and his wife Nancy have worked through suicide attempts, getting help, and finding answers to what is an epidemic level challenge for military personnel everywhere.