By David Futrelle
If you’ve been wondering where Jordan Peterson has been for the past several months, we now have an answer, courtesy of his daughter Mikhaila in a YouTube video yesterday: he’s been in “absolute hell” trying to get himself off of the effective but highly addictive anti-anxiety drug Klonopin, a quest that ultimately took him to Russia, where he ended up in a medically induced coma to cure a case of pneumonia she says he picked up in a North American hospital.
Rehab is punishingly rough for most people, but Peterson’s path in the direction of recovery took more than a few strange turns along the way. He first began taking the potent benzodiazepine several years ago, his daughter claims, after having a (self-diagnosed?) autoimmune reaction to food; he became a full-fledged addict last spring after his wife was diagnosed with cancer, ultimately retreating from a busy schedule of public talks and turning to doctors, first in North America, then in Russia, to get off the drug.
According to Mikhaila, as the National Post notes,
the family sought alternative treatment in Russia because they found North American hospitals had misdiagnosed him, and were prescribing “more medications to cover the response he was experiencing from the benzodiazepines,” Mikhaila said. “He nearly died several times.”
She also reports that her father at one point was contemplating suicide because the side effects of some of the meds he was taking were so severe.
She and her husband took him to Moscow last month, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and put into an induced coma for eight days. She said his withdrawal was “horrific,” worse than anything she had ever heard about. She said Russian doctors are not influenced by pharmaceutical companies to treat the side-effects of one drug with more drugs, and that they “have the guts to medically detox someone from benzodiazepines.”
It seems a little strange to go from Canada to Russia — a country not exactly known for its fine hospitals — for medical treatment, but hey, this is a guy who thinks the ideal diet consists of nothing but meat and salt.
Jordan Peterson has only just come out of an intensive care unit, Mikhaila said. He has neurological damage, and a long way to go to full recovery. He is taking anti-seizure medication and cannot type or walk unaided, but is “on the mend” and his sense of humour has returned.
Is Peterson a hypocrite? Rule 6 of Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life — as spelled out in his bestselling book of that title — is one of his most demanding pronouncements: “SET YOUR HOUSE IN PERFECT ORDER BEFORE YOU CRITICIZE THE WORLD.”
Peterson is speaking metaphorically, of course; he’s not talking about tidying up one’s room as much as he is talking about tidying up one’s own life. “Don’t reorganize the state until you have ordered your own experience,” he writes.
Have some humility. If you cannot bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city?
This is a rule that Peterson has some considerable difficulty in following himself. Not much given to humility, he has been trying to “reorganize the world” for many years despite his own life being, frankly, something of a mess. And it’s not just the benzos. He’s a follower of a crank diet that he admits causes him considerable internal distress; he has a snappish temper that has led him to fantasize about and sometimes even threaten physical violence against his critics; he’s a stubborn intellectual bully who has aligned himself with some of the world’s worst “intellectuals.” And he’s an anti-trans bigot.
I don’t wish the horrors of addiction and rehab on anyone, not even Jordan Peterson. But I do hope he returns from this ordeal a little chastened, a little less judgmental, and a lot wiser.
Not that his fans would agree. From their comments on the Jordan Peterson subreddit, it’s clear they want the old Peterson back, as soon as possible.
“If Peterson has taught me one thing it’s to look the f*k out when this guy comes back,” writes one fan. “I can not wait to see how he emerges. Buckle up, Bucko.”
Another draws hope from one of the ancient Egyptian myths Peterson likes to talk about:
He is in the metaphorical underworld fighting to get out. like Ra/Amun in the Egyptian religion.
Yes, let’s literally compare Peterson with a supreme deity.
Still another commenter spins a conspiracy theory to explain Peterson’s troubles:
I consider it disturbingly coincidental, that someone who has devoted themselves to combatting the hard Left, would suddenly develop such chronic health problems over the last 12-24 months.
The main reason why I say that, is because the one message which I have most consistently received from the Millennial/Z Left on this site over the last ten years, has been that there is literally no room on this planet, or within reality itself, for anyone who disagrees with them or with their message. …
I sincerely hope that Doctor Peterson makes as close to a full, permanent recovery as is possible from such a condition, as his ongoing presence is urgently needed. If for no other reason, this is so that individuals like myself, for whom it is all too easy to assume that the Left reign supreme in society, can be reminded that we are in fact not alone, and that battle has been joined.
One of Peterson’s fan boys even ventured into an anti-Jordan Peterson subreddit to tell critics that
He’s going to recover fully and will have more support than ever and will continue speaking the truth and all of you whiny little fucking pathetic cunts will have to deal with it. Can’t wait 🙂
I’m not seeing a lot of humility here. But if Peterson can’t live up to his own pronouncements, it’s perhaps a bit much to expect that his fans will either. But I suspect that they’re right about one thing: Peterson will come back from this ordeal having learned nothing from it — the same flawed, judgmental jerk we’ve gotten to know over the past several years.
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