U.S. Army Major (ret.) Josh Mantz, author of the new book, The Beauty of a Darker Soul: Overcoming Trauma Through the Power of Human Connection is our guest on this episode.
A 2005 graduate of West Point, Josh was commissioned as an infantry officer and soon found himself fighting insurgents in Baghdad during “The Surge.” During a relatively routine patrol, Josh was shot and killed.
That’s not a typo. Yes, he was killed.
Josh was without a pulse for 15 minutes as medics and triage teams worked furiously to save him. After about 6 minutes, most people won’t survive and when they do, they lose the vast majority of their cognitive and physical functions.
When Josh came back to life, not only did he keep all of his faculties but he has a near perfect recollection of the entire event – down to his last breath. He remembers taking it in, and being prepared to pass away.
After only 5 months, Josh begged, pled and bargained to get back to his unit in Iraq and he completed the tour with his men. As an apparent poster boy of resilience, the military seized on Josh’s miraculous physical and mental recovery and they sent him out on a publicity tour. Josh spoke on national television, to veteran’s groups and any local morning show that would listen about his story and how he was strong and healthy after his shooting.
The problem was, Josh wasn’t fine at all. Josh was falling apart inside and on the brink of suicide several times.
So, how can a man who’s been given a second chance on life, a man who has literally died and come back be so desperate that he wants to do it again?
The answer was something I’d never heard of before until I heard Josh’s story: moral wounds
Not quite PTSD, though it can also be that but moral wounds are emotional traumas that result from a profound upending in our sense of right and wrong. When we’re exposed to something that is so offensive to our sense of righteousness and world order that it literally traumatizes us.
So who, in addition to the military, experiences these types of morally traumatic events?
Child molestation, homicide, domestic violence, drug overdoses, violent assaults, rapes…
I could type a paragraph of the stuff we see that makes us susceptible to these moral wounds but you get the idea.
Josh used his journey to write his new book, and founded darkersouls.com. Please give him a follow.
Here is Josh’s Tedx Talk
Josh’s book The Beauty of a Darker Soul: Overcoming Trauma Through the Power of Human Connection will be out later this year. We’ll keep you posted when it’s released.