TORONTO — Author and psychologist Jordan Peterson says he’s back in Toronto and eager for “something resembling a normal life” after spending much of the past year in and out of hospitals around the world.

The controversial speaker and writer has released an eight-minute long YouTube video recounting months spent consulting specialists in Connecticut, Toronto, Moscow and Belgrade for health woes tied to his use of benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety medication that includes Valium and Xanax.

Peterson says he started taking the drug in early 2017 and followed “the prescribed recommendations” without a second thought but that it led to “severe post-use withdrawal and neurological damage” when he tried to stop.

Peterson says he hopes that struggle is behind him, noting he has several plans for the future. They include a new video series dedicated to Exodus, the second book of the Bible. It’s a follow-up to a biblical series on Genesis he released in 2017.

The University of Toronto professor and bestselling author of “12 Rules for Life” has been little seen over the past year, with most media updates coming through his daughter Mikhaila. 


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Peterson rocketed to notoriety over his objection to transgender human rights legislation and his refusal to use preferred pronouns for trans students.

“I wanted to tell you that I’m back in Toronto, that I’m in much better health, although it’s still severely impaired, especially in the morning. But I can work again and I really want to,” says Peterson. 

“With God’s grace and mercy, I’ll be able to start generating original material once again and pick up where I left off.”

Before the Exodus project, Peterson says he expects to release some videos devoted to the Book of Proverbs. Efforts are also underway to translate and dub his YouTube lectures into several languages.

He says six will be rolled out over the next few months.

Peterson thanked his family for their support, noting his daughter Mikhaila accompanied him to Russia and Serbia. 

“Both of those episodes were extremely grueling and lasted for months. But I’m alive and I have plans for the future,” he says.

Mikhaila said earlier this year that she and her father contracted COVID-19 while in Serbia.

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Peterson says he hopes much of his health woes are behind him and that he “can return to something resembling a normal life.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story referred to benzodiazepines as an anti-anxiety medication. In fact, they are a class of anti-anxiety medication

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