A new eBook written by the Editor of Pathfinder International and Left Right Left magazines, tells the tale of his battles with PTSD since serving with the RAF in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Malcolm Robinson has recently penned “Attack! Attack! Attack! The Story of Football, Business And War 10 Years On” which is a look back on a decade since he wrote his first book – “From Afghanistan To Temazepam”.
The original publication released in 2007 was one of the first books on the modern Afghan conflict and charted Robinson’s diary notes from an RAF tour in Kandahar, entwined with the rise to promotion of his football team, Sunderland.
The new eBook is a mini summary of the life Robinson has lived since and includes further tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, civilian roles in Kabul and Sierra Leone, as well as Editorial roles for an array of publications, most notably for Trinity Mirror.
Attack! Attack! Attack! is split into three main chapters – Military, Football and Business and it is the Military inclusion, which is the most revealing and personal as the extract below highlights.
“This was when the anxiety and paranoia set in. I’d work four days on, four days off, two days, two nights, which meant a lot of the time, once again everyone was at work when I was off. The first angst of some kind of mental problem occurred whilst lying on my bed, trying to relax. I had my iPod on, yet I kept finding myself turning the volume down, or off all together, in case anyone was coming to get me. I dismissed it as being paranoid, but on reflection now, this was the beginning of the problems.”
The first signs of any problems occurred when Robinson was stationed at RAF Lyneham, scene of the repatriation flights from operational war zones to the UK.
Further extracts from the eBook highlight the experience of one of these parades.
“My first time doing this was horrific and brought it all home again.
This was my first repatriation parade on home shores, resplendent in number one uniform, smart as a carrot, nerves crumbling inside. I’d been drilled on what to do, but not what to expect, after all, every repatriation was different, every reaction unique.
The soldier’s family arrived and things were tense, emotions clouded the air.
We got the call that the aircraft was 10 miles out and my stomach turned to knots, heart pounding out of my chest.
The event became something of a blur, I am not sure if this was a combination of nerves and focus on doing the job, mixed with an in built desire, perhaps to block things out.
One thing that remains crystal clear and still haunts me to this day was the sight of this poor guy’s father, heartbroken and inconsolable.
I remember being stood to attention, rigid and upright, no emotion allowed to be shown, yet in the corner of my eye, this strapping bloke had simply broken down in front of me, unable to walk, such was his grief for the arrival of his young son back home once more.
I couldn’t even break ranks to rush and pick him up and comfort him, as I would anywhere else that was just protocol and routine, besides there were others in uniform there on hand for this type of comfort. Still, I felt helpless, guilty and upset inside, such was his loss. Yet still, I had to stand still and remain ‘on parade’.”
Speaking about the new eBook, Robinson adds: “Someone told me it had been 10 years since the first Afghan book and that I should release something as an update to celebrate the decade. I decided to release a kind of a brief summary cum prelude to some more in depth stuff I want to write and have in mind for later in the year, including highlighting the elements of PTSD I have encountered in the hope this helps people understand the problems associated with this and hopefully others who are going through various stages of PTSD can come forward, admit there is a problem and get help.
It was good to get things off your chest, yet it is quite nerve wracking to know strangers will be reading some personal stuff, but as I say, if this inspires others to seek help they need, then it will be all worthwhile.
I decided to coincide both extracts from the eBook and an in depth focus on PTSD in the current issue of Left Right Left, inside of Pathfinder, as it was “Time to Talk Day” at the beginning of February, plus as I say it is time we started to open up about PTSD and its very real effects.
Since we have released the issue, I have received several messages from personnel who are both receiving treatment for PTSD, have problems and stigma related to it, or who have decided to take those first steps in receiving treatment.”
Attack! Attack! Attack! – The Story of Football, Business And War 10 Years On – is available now to buy on all eBook platforms including Amazon, iBooks and Kobo or by clicking the link https://www.books2read.com/u/3L9kXe
Robinson’s PTSD story and more on PTSD can be seen in the February issue of Left Right Left, inside Pathfinder International at https://goo.gl/jirFiV for free and is out now.