Finding Identity Again


“When I lost my arm, I felt like I lost my identity,” admits 46-year-old Darius Johnson, who was an infantryman and squad leader in the United States Army. “My first sergeant stepped on an IED, detonated it and took my arm in 2011. After that, I went straight into work for two and a half years to avoid dealing with PTSD. I thought it was a myth or a cop-out for people who weren’t strong-minded. I came to Operation Mend in 2017 after a lot of encouragement from my mom and other people in my circle. Operation Mend helped me confront that it wasn’t my fault, and I was punishing myself while trying to make sense of ‘why me?’ I ended up going back to school to get my degree and got in a relationship where I’m now engaged. I wouldn’t have gotten here if not for Operation Mend. I would still be in my room, sitting and watching TV and not enjoying life. Everybody needs help, and the hardest thing is admitting to yourself that you need help. Once you admit that, I think you’re halfway there. Operation Mend really empowered me.”