Daniel Johns Has Opened Up About His Struggles With Anxiety In A Revealing New Interview

"It's all maintenance, all keeping things at bay for the most part, delicately spinning plates."

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In his first interview in three years, Daniel Johns has opened up about his fifteen-year battle with anxiety on Andrew Denton’s Channel 7 show Interview .

As the interviewed aired, many took to Twitter to praise Johns and Denton for their candid and occasionally ‘uncomfortable to watch’ conversation on mental illness. Throughout, Johns was soft-spoken yet forthcoming.

The forty minute interview contextualised the ex-Silverchair frontman’s several alcohol-related public incidents in 2015 and 2016, which included a conviction for drink driving and a hospitalisation after falling outside of a bar in Sydney.

“I wasn’t well, but it wasn’t what people thought it was,” Johns told Denton. “I have had a pretty serious anxiety disorder for fifteen years and it got really bad at a point and I was not coping and didn’t know how to deal with it.”

Johns explained that the anxiety disorder, which he declined to define explicitly, had caused uncontrollable shaking in public and extreme stage fright. As doctors trialled different medications, Johns told Denton he “found that the only thing that worked was alcohol, so I was drinking alcohol to keep that at bay.”

He also outlined how his anxiety created extreme writer’s bloc between Silverchair’s breakup in 2011 and 2015, when Talk, John’s debut solo album, was released. The album’s tour was also later cancelled due to his mental health.

“It was pretty rough, because I felt like without [music], I didn’t have anything. But it was just because of anxiety — if that gets too out of control, music can’t come anymore.”

“I couldn’t sing. I couldn’t write words because I was so scared about what I was going to say, because I didn’t feel good, so I didn’t want to write. So, I’d write music, really crazy electronic music… but I could very rarely put a vocal on anything.”

Since then, Johns has attended therapy and is taking medication. He has also returned to music, so far teasing two singles as Dreams, a new duo formed with Empire Of The Sun’s Luke Steele. Despite his improving mental health and current happiness, Johns readily admitted anxiety remains a daily struggle.

“My head is chaos,” he said. “It’s all maintenance, all keeping things at bay for the most part, delicately spinning plates,” he said. “I gave up a while ago trying to eliminate things in my head, ’cause I just don’t think it’s achievable. And so it’s a lot easier to keep things at bay before they drive you crazy.”

Head to 7Plus to watch the full interview, or view a few clips below.