Break from open source

Hey everyone,

Unfortunately in these last few months, while I have had incredibly positive and invaluable experiences with the python core development community, I have not done a great job at taking care of my wrists.

Between finishing up the final semester of my bachelor’s degree as strongly as possible, psf internship, Co - organizing the core development sprint, and upcoming code interview prep, I really should have paid more attention to ergonomics and regularly taking breaks. However, as a result of my own negligence, I now have no other choice but to take a break. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return after taking it easy for a few more weeks, but I can’t make any guarantees.

While I know it wasn’t strictly necessary to make this public, I wanted to put this out there as a message of caution to not get caught up in the heat of the moment and lose track of prioritizing one’s own health. Also, after all that this amazing community provided to me, I felt that it was only fair to provide some explanation of my lowered recent activity and in the coming weeks while I recover.

PS I wrote this using primarily speech to text, so I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors if any.

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Hi Kyle,

First of all, thanks for all you’ve done in the past few months, especially organizing the very successful core dev sprint!

I think it’s very important that you’re sharing this - from my experience the prevalence and effects of these types of injuries are still greatly under-appreciated. Take your time, let your wrists recover, and invest in better ergonomics for the future.

A specific tip I’ve come across is that making your arms stronger can help. Of course, consult with an expert, I’m not a doctor etc, but it’s helped me. Also, I’m typing this on a programmable ergonomic keyboard which I bought when I started having some minor tingling in my wrists, which I feel has been a great investment.

It would be great if you could share more about what you’re going through - after you heal, of course.

Feel well!

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Hi Kyle, take care of yourself, Python can wait. When you will be back, I would be interested to get your advises to prevent these wrists issues :wink:

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Looking forward to your return. Kyle.

My bit of free advice: check out the Dvorak keyboard layout. I switched over to it 25 years ago (arthritis) and rarely have problems with my wrists now.

Enjoy your down-time! :wink:

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Take care, Kyle, and thanks for all your work. Take the well deserved break!

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I have some good news to share! My testing (EMG) was just completed, and there’s no long-term/permanent damage to my wrists! I’m also doing quite a lot better close to a month of almost no typing, and very gradually getting back into Python.

For an update on my setup, I invested in a split keyboard with lowered key activation for better alignment of my wrists, got a new office chair with better lumbar support (much of my problem was poor posture), and an adjustable keyboard+mouse (mounts under desk) tray to help ensure I’m typing at a 90 degree angle to my shoulders. Here’s a decent visual representation:

(Source: CUergo: Neutral Posture Typing)

There are still improvements which can be further made, such as a standing desk w/ adjustable height once I’m able to afford it, but it’s much better than before!

Finally, the last thing that I’ve done is setting a 30 min reoccurring reminder to get up and stretch for 5 minutes. This has been the hardest part to adapt to, but probably the most important change. Without it, I would often spend consecutive hours in the same position, leading to poor circulation. This results in increased inflammation and risk of injury due to the lowered blood flow.

While this is well known medically, it can be very difficult to remember when caught up in an important task. So, my advise if one finds themselves not taking enough, is to set up periodic break reminders and commit to stepping away for at least few minutes when it occurs. It may be a bit disruptive at first, but it is highly beneficial for both physiological and mental well being.

P.S. I requested for the post to be moved from committers to inquisition because of concern about future potential employers not hiring me based on past medical issues (it is illegal to admit to, but often done anyways if the info is public). This is unfortunately a significant problem where I currently live, so despite my desire to share what I’ve learned more widely, the possibility of it being used against me had to sadly take priority. My hope is that it can still be beneficial to some of the core development team.

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Hey everyone,

I wanted to give the core team an update on my current situation since I still have not been able to be as active or responsive recently. This is very difficult for me to talk about because it has been a hard past few months for me. I am quite frankly afraid of posting this publicly, but I’ve always felt a deep level of trust and mutual compassion within the core development team; I don’t think anyone here would judge me for it or share it with the outside world.

Two days ago, I just got out psychiatric ward for mental health issues. I was there as an voluntary inpatient for a few days because I was having constant panic attacks where I thought I was dying. Within the last two months, I’ve had 5 rather severe ones, one of which where I almost passed out from hyperventilation. This has been from a intense combination of anxiety and depression, mainly stemming from past trauma (sexual abuse from another student in high school), poor behaviors (lack of physical activity and over burdening myself), and my current home environment being negative.

That being said, I am on the path to recovery. Currently, I am enrolled in a 5 days a week outpatient mental health program, where I am surrounded by incredibly positive, empathic, and understanding people that have gone through similar struggles. I really underestimated the value of being able to vent out my trauma instead of internalizing it all and needlessly placing everything on my own shoulders. I hope to make a full recovery and get back to doing what I love, but in the meantime I will likely not be active with open source while I focus on trying to heal myself.

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Take care of yourself, Kyle! Glad to hear you’re on a good path.

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Work (open source, paid, or otherwise) will always be there when you’re ready for it, health (physical, mental, or otherwise) won’t be if you don’t watch out for it. Sounds like you already understand that and are taking care of yourself, so keep that up :slight_smile:

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Take care of yourself, Kyle! We’ll still be here when you’re ready, take as much time as you need to get yourself better.

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Since I only intermittently check Discourse, I had missed these updates. I’m relieved to know you’re starting to do better, Kyle.

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Hi @aeros

How are you? Take care of yourself. See you later

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Hi @matrixise, thanks for asking. I’m doing decently well. Still having some struggles with the psychosomatic pain, getting back into programming, and w/ my family, but things are certainly doing better than before. :slight_smile:

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After much consideration, I have decided to move this post to committers. Originally, I was in fear of future employers limiting my opportunities as a result of having had mental health struggles, but I have reached an important conclusion: anyone who would limit my employment opportunities based on struggles that I am overcoming is not worth working for.

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In these dark and difficult times, we often find ourselves lacking in self-love, which is the fuel that keeps us going. If anyone out there finds themselves in need of some, I found this video extremely helpful to meditate to: I LOVE MYSELF | 528Hz Healing Self Love Frequency Meditation & Sleep Music | Positive Energy Cleanse - YouTube

I know that not everyone out there believes in “energy channeling” or what not, but from a scientific perspective, I consider it a way to induce a positive placebo effect within myself. And there is absolutely zero doubt that the power of belief/placebo is incredibly powerful, and has been proven in countless studies.

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Thank you for sharing this with us, Kyle. You are brave.

Kudos and good luck to you as you take care of yourself and remain happy.

I feel happy that you were able to fight back. Continue!

Thank you,
Senthil

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Thanks! I have definitely found the most powerful weapons against hate and overwhelming negativity are love, patience, and compassion. It can sometimes take the patience of the Buddha to be calm, but true tranquility is always found within the eye of our internal storm. One just has to close their eyes and look within. :slight_smile:

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Hi Kyle,

I am so glad that you have taken care of yourself. Doing so takes great courage.

Thank you for being a stigma buster. It’s so important that people be able to talk about and care for their mental and physical health.

Please know that we are here for you as you take care of yourself.

Warmly,

Carol

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Kyle, thank you for sharing!

Like Carol, I too find that open-source devs share about difficulties they go through; to outsiders, they may sometimes seem superhuman when just looking at their contributions and accomplishments.

I’m sad to hear what you’ve gone through, but hopeful given that you’ve found good support structures for yourself. Good luck, and looking forward to seeing more great work from you in the future!

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Along the same lines, this music video has helped a lot with my anxiety and letting go of fear: Release Regrets, Guilt, Fear, Anxiety, Inner Conflicts, And Struggles - Deep Healing Meditation - YouTube

Everything has infinite potential; let go of limits and manifest your dreams!