Emotionally traumatic experiences are prevalent in our society, but few people understand the power they can have over our lives. The darkest demons that emerge from these experiences are often the most subtle and difficult to uncover. They can drive us into isolation, make us feel distant from the world, and leave us living within a deep emotional void that seems impossible to overcome.
Darker Souls emerged out of a need to help people understand the depths of trauma so they can regain control over their lives. As we start to emerge from these experiences, they will begin to add a new level of perspective and meaning to our lives. The process to get there is difficult and painful, but the journey is absolutely worth it. There will come a time when you’ll realize that you’ve become stronger and more powerful than the experience itself.
Trauma doesn’t discriminate. It comes in many shapes and forms and impacts people from every walk of life. While the nature of our experiences can vary greatly from person to person, the challenges that manifest from them are often very similar, particularly when viewed through the lens of deeper emotions like shame and guilt. By understanding the truth behind trauma, we unlock the potential to heal ourselves and heal each other through empathy, love, and connection.
Founder of Darker Souls
Major (ret.) Joshua Mantz is the author of The Beauty of a Darker Soul, a book dedicated to helping people overcome emotionally traumatic experiences. A graduate of West Point, Josh served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army for nearly a decade, and is the recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor. He is a highly sought after speaker on the topic of emotional trauma, having shared his message at TEDx, Got Your 6, and hundreds of other events.
The only force of nature powerful enough to overcome the emotional impacts of traumatic events is a strong sense of community and human connection.
Josh was serving as a Platoon Leader with the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq when he was shot and killed by an enemy sniper. The bullet first severed the aorta of one of his men before ricocheting into Josh’s leg and severing his femoral artery. He went on to flatline for 15 minutes before being revived by the medical team, and retains full recollection of the event.
Physically, Josh made a complete recovery and continued to excel in his career. But internally, he was collapsing. He’d soon come to understand that his near-death experience would pale in comparison to the decade long emotional struggle he would endure as he sought to find meaning in a “second life.”
It took traveling down many dangerous paths, false starts, suicidal spirals, and bouts of depression before Josh uncovered the truth behind trauma. He found that many of the things that plagued him had little to do with the experience of dying itself. Instead, the void he was experiencing was being driven by guilt, shame, and the microscopic details of events that didn’t even seem to be traumatic on the surface.
It’s this experience that has ignited a passion in Josh for helping others grappling with emotional trauma, and now informs his work within Darker Souls. He is a firm believer that all of us have the strength to overcome our experiences and regain control over our lives.