Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor who skyrocketed to fame before vanishing from the public eye for nearly a year, posted an emotional new video online, explaining that he’s back home in Toronto after months seeking medical treatment for withdrawal symptoms related to benzodiazepine use.
“Hopefully, much of that is behind me and I can return to something resembling a normal life,” said Peterson.
In the eight-minute video, Peterson explains he had been suffering from “severely impaired health,” after he had begun using benzodiazepines, drugs such as Valium, often used in the treatment of anxiety, in 2016 or 2017. He then stopped their use, which he said led to withdrawal and neurological damage, kicking off the search for specialists who could help him.
“That’s put me in and out of hospitals for much of the past year,” he said on the video.
Peterson said he started using benzodiazepines and “really never gave it a second thought.”
“That was a mistake, to say the least,” he said.
The University of Toronto professor found stardom over his objection to Bill C-16, a piece of legislation that added gender identity to Canada’s human rights and Criminal Codes. He then published the bestselling self-help book 12 Rules for Life.He has been a columnist for the National Post and is a popular YouTube speaker.
Peterson said that during his treatment, which he said took him from Connecticut to Russia to Serbia and back home to Canada, what kept him going “during what was certainly the worst period of my life” was family, friends and the ability to keep working and writing.
He said his family — his wife, son and daughter, and their spouses, provided “tremendous support.” and were of inestimable value.
“I’m alive and have plans for the future,” Peterson said, his voice cracking slightly as he talked about his friends and family.
Peterson sought specialized treatment and recovery abroad and, while in Belgrade, Serbia, over the summer, contracted COVID-19.
Peterson also thanked his followers on social media and those who have purchased his book.
“I hope that what I produce in the future will, that people will find it, of equal or greater utility. That’s an ambitious hope … but it still seems appropriate, an appropriate goal for my upcoming activities,” he said.