The Road to Recovery: Jordan Peterson, Depression and Anxiety

Jordan Peterson went through many personal challenges and tragedies, which caused him to essentially disappear from the public eye for months on end. Followers of his had to be satisfied with the occasional ‘Peterson family update’, which often resulted in more questions than answers.

In the video featured below, Jordan Peterson sits down with his daughter, Mikhaila Peterson, and the two discuss the events that lead to the serious decline in his health, as well as various other tragedies that were happening concurrently in his personal life.

“An accident is when three or four or five unlikely things happen at the same time, and I would say, that’s what happened.”

Jordan Peterson’s wife, Tammy Peterson, had to undergo surgery in March for her cancer, which, prior to the surgery, was believed to be relatively treatable. Six weeks after the surgery, the Petersons were informed that the relatively non-dangerous cancer that Tammy had, was in fact much more severe. She was told that she would have less than twelve months, and that there was no effective treatment. 

She then had to undergo more invasive surgeries which resulted in various side effects over the next six months.

As anyone can imagine, this was an extremely stressful and terrifying time for the Peterson family. Tammy Peterson was having ‘a life-threatening emergency’ every three days, for six months.

During this period, Jordan Peterson was himself battling with his health. He had been on benzodiazepine since 2016 to aid primarily with insomnia that he was suffering from.

With the terrible news the family was dealing with, Jordan Peterson started experiencing severe anxiety and asked his doctor to increase the benzodiazepine dose as a way of combatting the almost crippling anxiety. However, the opposite of the intended effect occurred.

His anxiety seemed to increase. This resulted in him stopping the medication entirely and start taking ketamine, which is used to treat depression.  This resulted in new complications, and he stopped taking the ketamine for a week. He then went back onto benzodiazepine with the goal of tapering off over time. This proved extremely challenging for a wide range of reasons.

Jordan Peterson started experiencing akathisia – which is a movement disorder that makes it hard for you to stay still – as a result of the attempt to taper off. “It was like being jabbed with a cattle prod or something sharp, non-stop for all the hours I was awake.”

In mid-August, Tammy miraculously recovered, but he continued his downward spiral. He ended up in a clinic with the hope that a benzodiazepine detox was possible in order to end his suffering as a result of the drug. Because a physical dependency had developed, which wasn’t fully comprehended at the time, the detox did not work. He left the clinic in a worse state than when he went in.

In November, he returned to Toronto and although his wife was recovering he continued on his downward trajectory. He ended up in hospital, but received no effective treatment.

Mikhaila Peterson and her husband then took him out of the hospital, against the advice of the doctors, and headed to Russia. The reason for this was to try another treatment that was offered by a clinic near Moscow. He was sedated for about nine days, while battling pneumonia which he had picked up in Toronto. The point of the sedation was to alleviate part of the suffering while getting off the benzodiazepine. 

He then ended up in a clinic in Belgrade, Serbia. Where the treatment he received appears to have aided tremendously in his recovery.

The video goes on with Jordan Peterson explaining the dangers of these drugs and how he was able to slowly recover.

You can watch the video here:

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  1. Fred Fanning

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