Alliance Profile - Zach Johnson
Former rhythm guitarist turned lead guitarist for the band The Ghost Inside
What past life experiences, physical traumas or genetics do you believe have had an effect on your mental health?
In November of 2015 my band’s tour bus was in a head-on collision with a semi-truck. It took 13 major surgeries, and years of recovery time to come back from. The physical resulted in almost as much mental and emotional trauma than I could’ve imagined.
How did the effects on your mental health appear in terms of symptoms?
My formal diagnosis is PTSD, depression, and anxiety. The informal has feelings from the lowest lows to the highest of hopes.
When and why did you decide to ask for help to get relief?
After my 13th surgery, I was in the worst place mentally and physically than I had ever been. I was super reliant on medication, to an unhealthy point, and didn’t know how to cope. It was affecting me, and my loved ones. I woke up one day and said “I’m ready to surrender,” and it was the best decision I ever made.
What methods helped you individually get/feel better?
Outside help was for sure the most important part for me, it was the catalyst to me finding ways that help me day to day. I started to go for little hikes around the mountains, now I regularly work out which has been huge for my mind & body. I grew up playing hockey, and just recently got back on the ice. At the start of the pandemic, I got a puppy too, which has been the best thing ever. Finding positive hobbies has been so important, fun, and refreshing.
Why did you decide to go public with your story? Who were/are you hoping to help and how?
My whole story has been pretty public since the moment the crash happened. In a way, people feel like they’ve been on the whole journey with myself and the band, and if that helps someone in any degree I consider it a win. Everyone has an “end of your world” scenario happen, it’s just about finding a way to push through to the other side.
How did people react when you went public with your story?
People have seen this story almost in real-time, so the little victories have felt like wins to them, along with the road bumps and hard parts. I know that this has helped people feel “if he can do it, then so can I.” Whether it’s getting over an injury, mental struggles, or any hurdle life throws.