For those of you who grew up watching Nickelodeon between 2004 and 2007, Josh Peck is best known as the eccentric co-star of Drake & Josh. Peck’s fans adored him so much on the show that they watched him on YouTube (3.65 million subscribers and counting) and other social media platforms long after the show had ended (on Instagram he has a whopping 12.6 million followers).
Many people still associate Peck with the endearing goofball from Nickelodeon, despite the fact that he has played other significant roles (such as co-starring with Ben Kingsley in The Wackness and most recently in How I Met Your Father). Peck may be endearing and silly, but there was a time in his life when he struggled mentally and turned to food, alcohol, and drugs as a coping mechanism. In his upcoming memoir, Happy People Are Annoying, which will be released on March 15, 2022, Peck discusses it in detail.
In his book, Peck discusses what Drake & Josh’s viewers weren’t aware of in real life: a struggle with the idea that he wasn’t good enough, which was partly related to issues with body image. But Peck has come a long way since his Nickelodeon days, and he now hopes that sharing his experience with mental illness will aid those who are still going through their darkest moments.
The psychological burden of being the big, funny guy
A starring role on a Nickelodeon show was a mixed blessing for Peck. According to him, “I was introducing myself to the world in a body I didn’t want to be on, but on the other hand I was getting to perform my favorite kind of comedy on a network I dreamed of being on.” Peck was bigger when he was younger, which, while endearing to viewers, was not a role he felt comfortable playing.
People are accustomed to a large, humorous guy, he claims. “It is comparable to the packaging of your favorite candy bar. People enjoy it and grow accustomed to it. According to Peck, people predicted he would succeed Chris Farley or John Candy in the entertainment industry. People weren’t comparing me to those men’s talent; rather, they were comparing me to their size, according to Peck. “Those guys are geniuses, and I would be happy to have one-tenth of the careers that they’ve had,” he says. So, despite his gratitude for his early success, he was concerned that he would always be known as either a bully or a best friend.
He made a serious commitment to losing weight at the age of 16, following a diet similar to the keto diet and starting a regular exercise regimen. Even celebrities find it difficult to lose weight, but Peck claims he persisted by keeping his eye on the prize: being able to accept more roles than he feared would otherwise be offered to him. In a year and a half, he lost more than 70 pounds thanks to his dedication. But Peck has undergone more than just physical change. His mental health was also impacted by his inability to feel comfortable in his body.
Overcoming addiction and emerging victorious
Even though Peck was physically lighter, he was still emotionally burdened. I was in control of my eating for the first time in my life after losing all this weight. My mind hadn’t caught up yet, but things were looking up for me,” Peck writes in his book. It was clinging tenaciously to the notion that I was still helpless, that the world was unfair, and that I needed to look for solace elsewhere. He used alcohol and drugs to cope, just like far too many famous people do.
But he has moved on from that. Peck is now successfully married, a loving father, and mentally much better off. Peck attributes regular therapy and AA for aiding in his transformation, but there are some important lessons he’s learned along the way that continue to make him feel balanced. (True even in the midst of a pandemic.)
The simple routines that maintain his mental health
Peck claims that one of the most important lessons he has learned is the value of having a connection to a higher good. He claims, “I’m exceptionally fortunate because my purpose is the thing that I love and can also support me financially. He acknowledges that not everyone has that option and that sometimes a job is just a job. For those who are unable to combine their purpose and career, he advises pursuing it outside of work.
Peck adds that being surrounded by the people he loves is essential to his mental health. He says that he enjoys spending time with his son at Dave & Buster’s and hanging out with his best friend, who also works in trucking when he is not working. Peck claims that Ben Kingsley taught him some of it while they were filming The Wackness. When I asked him for advice, I assumed he would share the “secrets to becoming a movie star,” Peck claims. However, he instructed me to ‘find your Apostles. Spend time with people who will improve you. That advice has guided my life ever since.
Peck has a little happiness trick that he uses to lift his spirits when he is having a particularly bad day. He says, “I like to do kind deeds for other people—and it’s even better if they don’t know it was me.” He continues by saying that it can be as simple as helping the staff members out by collecting shopping carts in a grocery store parking lot.
Peck wants the majority of listeners to realize that they are not alone in their struggles after hearing about his own life’s journey. “If someone is at the top beckoning orders to me while I’m on a rock wall holding on tightly and my arms are shaking, I just think, ‘What do you know?'” You’re relaxing up there while sipping Gatorade. I will, however, pay attention if someone is just a few feet above me on the rock wall and they are giving me advice,” Peck claims. “I want those who are struggling to know that I’m still with them, just a few steps ahead, on that rock wall. I’m still there, right there in the battle.