Author, Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer, and self-help guru for millions across the world, Jordan Peterson rose to stardom in a heartbeat and disappeared just as quickly. What happened?
Depending on who you ask, Jordan Peterson is either a hero or a villain. To some, he’s helped them restore a semblance of order to their chaotic lives, and to others, he’s a dangerous rhetorician who uses his quick wit and mastery of language to promote harmful and divisive ideas.
As many will know, Dr. Peterson rose to prominence for his resistance against Bill C-16 in Canada, which sought to ratify gender expression as protected grounds within the Canadian Human Rights Act.
At the time, Peterson argued that this bill attempted to “legislate speech,” which he believed would begin a slippery slope into tyrannical oppression.
Many others, however, perceived this to be an attack on the legitimacy of gender expression, particularly with regards to transgenderism, and thus began the divided opinions on the Edmonton-born psychologist.
From that moment forward Peterson was thrust into the limelight, making mainstream media appearances on a regular basis. During this period, Peterson was labeled a “darling of the radical right,” a “custodian of the patriarchy” and a “gateway to the alt-right,” however, his fanbase only continued to grow exponentially.
Journalists such as BBC’s Cathy Newman would attempt to secure a “gotcha” moment upon the professor, but ultimately, Peterson would only become more of an icon, now famed for his ability to unravel those who attempted to discredit him.
At the peak of his fame, Peterson was able to sell over 5 million copies of his book ‘12 Rules For Life,’ as well as generating over $1 million annually from the donation-based platform Patreon.
It seemed there was nothing that could hold back Jordan Peterson, who handled his meteoric rise to fame better than many lifelong celebrities, despite endless rebuking from his critics.
Then, in January 2020, he disappeared.
Behind the scenes, Peterson had been taking benzodiazepines, a depressant that slows down the activity of the central nervous system, in order to deal with the anxiety of his newfound role as a public figure. In 2019, Peterson had to increase his dosage upon finding out that his wife had been diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer.
After ongoing operations for many months, Peterson’s wife eventually was able to overcome her battle with cancer, and her outcome began to look more positive.
However, upon realizing that he was becoming heavily reliant on benzodiazepines and knowing the dangers of their use, Peterson attempted to lower his drug intake, which resulted in severe withdrawal symptoms.
One of the symptoms of Peterson’s withdrawals was akathisia, which he describes as being “jabbed or whipped” constantly, resulting in such agonizing pain in which “death would have been preferable.”
And so, Peterson then flew to seek medical help at a clinic that claimed to be able to perform benzodiazepine detoxes. This, Peterson stated in an interview with his daughter, was a lie.
After a series of failed treatments in hospitals across numerous countries, Peterson then flew to Belgrade in Serbia with his daughter and her husband, in order to seek additional help.
Finally, it seems that Peterson is on the mend, having released a video in October 2020 entitled ‘Return Home,’ in which the Canadian professor chronicled his absence and the tumult he was going through.
While it’s clear that he’s still not at 100%, Jordan Peterson is making more regular appearances on his daughter's podcast and has written a new book entitled ‘Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life,’ which will be released in March 2021.