Surviving Anxiety, or, How I re-met Adam Culp Today

tl;dr: Read Adam Culp’s post on how anxiety damn near killed him*

I just read an amazing post about someone surviving anxiety, and it’s from a very unexpected place: Adam Culp’s blog. Adam is many things: sharp developer, Zend consultant and developer relations personality, and PHP Sunshine organizer. Adam is also an avid runner. From the first time I met him I was impressed by his appearance of effectiveness, togetherness, and health. He might be surprised to know that this is how I “see” him, but I suspect I’m not the only one. I personally draw inspiration from him anytime I’m out for a run myself (literally I think about my projection of Adam and measure myself against that; I should also mention that I am inspired to run for health and enjoyment by my colleague Vinai Kopp and by my wife Tracey). My running is teaching me two things. One is to “push through” – to go beyond a point when I want to give up short of a goal. The other is to pay attention and take a break when I need it lest I end up hurting myself.

Imagine my surprise to read Adam’s post in which he talks about being at the helm of a failing business, smoking packs of cigarettes each day, and succumbing to hospital-grade anxiety attacks. As someone who spent most of my early years plagued by anxiety attacks, I was left in shock and in tears reading his post today. My idol of programming & health has been through an amazing transformation from someone I suspect wouldn’t recognize. It’s always good to have one’s assumptions challenged – there’s a lot to be learned in those moments.

I encourage everyone to read Adam’s brief, powerful post. Even if you are not dealing with crushing anxiety, it’s certain that you know someone who is. It’s a terrible thing to experience, and it’s a wonderful thing to be past, though I’m always worried that it’s waiting for me in the wings – one never fully recovers from it, I suspect.

A tip of the hat to the supremely wonderful Cal Evans for tweeting the post.

*Didn’t really damn near kill him, but that’s the feeling. If he’d kept going on the same way though it might have.

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