Memoirs of Mental Health: Josh Peck

Like many in their late 20s-early 30s, I grew up during Nickelodeon’s heyday (ahem… back when it was good) and enjoyed watching shows such as All That, The Amanda Show, and Drake & Josh. Josh Peck played roles on all the aforementioned shows. Having been chubby throughout my childhood and adolescence, I appreciated seeing the representation that Peck’s characters brought to my television. Today, I’ll be sharing some of the insights that I gained from his new memoir, Happy People are Annoying.

Mental Health Topics Covered

Addiction

Before reading his book, I had no clue about the adversity and challenges that Peck faced before, during, and after his run on Nickelodeon. Though not uncommon for former child stars, I was surprised to learn about his years of battling social anxiety, alcohol, and drug addiction.

“Have you ever walked away from a conversation and regretted what you said? That was me in all conversations, all the time!”

“This was High Josh and High Josh is great at parties.”

“It takes a lot of strength to stay in the emotional orbit of an addict. You have to sit there and accept being radiated while the addict becomes nuclear.”

I appreciate Peck’s transparency in sharing how he navigated addiction and how he maintains sobriety in the present.

Body Image

I identified with Peck’s characters growing up, as it was uncommon for me to see an overweight person on TV. As I read the book, I found myself seeing aspects of my own adolescence in his story.

“As I got a little older, I did what any self-respecting, overweight kid, deeply uncomfortable with their appearance, and navigating the social battlefield of puberty would do… I decided to be on television!”

I appreciate how he uses humor as a coping mechanism as I also share this trait.

“The reason why people are funny is usually not fun at all.”

So true… I became tearful as he discussed the mental hell resulting from being overweight, bullied, and receiving mixed messages about food and eating.

“Food was something to be celebrated and something to be hidden. It was ruthlessly controlled, weighed, and measured or completely overindulged in. It was good and evil.”

Given that I underwent a weight loss journey around the same time that Peck did, I strongly related with the journey towards self-kindness; more specifically, how losing the weight is minor compared to the years of mental anguish that must be overcome to move on… Like me, he’s still working on that.

Fatherlessness

Being Black, I’ve become jaded about the problem of fatherlessness in our community; however, I was shocked that Peck (who is white) was abandoned by his father from the start. His insights on how this impacted his self-esteem were thought-provoking.

“What kind of imprinting happens when the first person that was supposed to love you leaves?”

Like Peck, the fatherless dynamic became all the more apparent when I became a father. If I spend too much time pondering the aforementioned question, my brain begins to hurt.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a millennial memoir with great substance and a lot of humor, I’d recommend Happy People are Annoying by Josh Peck. I enjoyed the Audible version, which is read by the author, but you can find it in other formats here (paid links.)

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2 thoughts on “Memoirs of Mental Health: Josh Peck”

  1. Ashley says:

    Sounds like he’s got some really great insights.

    1. Thanks so much for reading!

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