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    How are you holding up? ask programming

Meant to be separate discussion from “What are you doing this week”.

How are you holding up mentally/physically during the pandemic? Are you still working the same job (remote?) - have you picked up any new hobbies/habits that have been impactful in a good or bad way?

    1. 39

      I’ve lived with depression and bipolar to various degrees the majority of my life. 2019 was incredibly hard for me. I’m doing better than I was in 2019, but the feeling of numbness has returned. I’m unable to really feel emotion while in this depressive state. I feel somewhat guilty and ashamed that I can’t be the husband my wife needs me to be right now, which further fuels the depression. I’m seeing a therapist and taking meds, doing what I can to get out of this, but I’m not sure I will be free from this internal oppression.

      I’m not really looking for sympathy or resolution, but I hope that by opening up publicly, I can help rid stigma and let others know they’re not alone. In the US, our society is okay with saying “I have the flu” but not “I live with mental illness.”

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        Here with you: got my bipolar diagnosis this year after a couple of years seeing a therapist but never really having a name to give to my cyclical depression.

        The lockdown hit me hard, even though I’ve been WFH for several years now. What little social escape + contact I had outside my family basically stopped cold, and I found myself trying and struggling to redirect all my energy and self-worth into work, feeling dumb + ineffective, and staying in that loop for too long.

        By late March it basically boiled over, and I had a breakdown. I was hospitalized briefly and then took several weeks of leave to focus on therapy, rest, and rebuilding some sort of self-care plan and habits. Now I’m back at work, shaken but also trying to just slow down and find time for all the things in moderation. It’s basically just: work, rest, family, chores (not necessarily in that order)…lather, rinse, repeat.

        So basically: lockdown sucks, esp. with mental illness; great resources are out there, but it can take an acute crisis for most folks to go after them; you’re brave to speak up like this, and I hope you get to feeling like every day is a little better than the one before (even if the starting point isn’t great).

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          I voluntarily admitted myself early this year to a partial hospitalization program–an intensive outpatient therapy program. I haven’t really dealt with my issues in the most productive ways until this year (part of why 2019 hit me hard.)

          I learned a lot of coping skills and tools. I”ve started journaling on a semi-regular basis. My memory is horrible (likely due, at least in part, to depression+bipolar) and it feels nice to have something that I can grep. Literally grep through my life. grep -rnF 'feelings' journal. :-D

      2. 7

        This may or may not be your thing, but I listened to a couple lecture series (through audible) that I think have really helped me with depressive thoughts and behaviors:

        1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Great Courses https://a.co/hbhlSPc
        2. The Science of Mindfullness Great Courses https://a.co/1AiSnpM

        Both provided a wealth of information. I think the second one was more valuable for me, personally. If either of them sound interesting, I highly recommend checking them out!

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          Will do. Thanks for the links!

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        This really bothers me because I really know what you are talking about (I never had this kind of disease though, but I used to know a lot of people in the same situation) and I’d really love to help even if I don’t really know how. Maybe I should take a look at voluntary groups near where I live…

        In the US, our society is okay with saying “I have the flu” but not “I live with mental illness.”

        Not just in the US and not just with mental illness unfortunately! Look at drugs and AIDS and hemorrhoids and…

      4. 1

        I’m unable to really feel emotion while in this depressive state.

        So you don’t feel lonely, bored or otherwise distracted by emotions?

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          Perhaps it makes sense to you to say: The urges and emotions don’t feel real. They feel weak, like shadows of emotions rather than the real thing.

        2. 1

          Distracted from what exactly? The things you aren’t currently doing because you don’t feel motivated or interested in anything?

          1. 0

            I do plenty of things that I’m not interested in, like cleaning the house.

    2. 19

      Gonna sound odd but the pandemic has been a real opportunity to bond with my dog.

      We adopted a rescue ~2 years ago and I’ve always loved the little pooch but the reality was that before the pandemic my long commute and not very frequent WFH meant I didn’t actually spend very much time really taking care of her, taking her for walks, etc.

      Taking charge of the daily evening walk and some of the noontime walks has really allowed me to gain a better understanding of her habits and needs and how to handle her behavioral issues in a way that works for both of us.

      Obviously I could do without the constant looming fear (We live in a very densely populated urban area so limiting exposure has been an ongoing challenge) but honestly I’ll be sad if things ever go back to “normal” and I’m required to be back in the office for any significant percentage of time.

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        My wife is a massage therapist. She was furloughed for around five months (she literally returned to work Monday of this week). We adopted a dog in January 2019. He’s now one-and-a-half years old. Since I’m still working from the office, she would have been pretty lonely without the dog. Both of our families live a couple thousand miles away, so we’re on this journey called life together alone (“together alone? heh”). She’s an incredibly social person, extroverted in every way. The pandemic has been hard for her, but at least she has Lord Vader, our dog, to keep her company while I’m at work.

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          It’s funny we’re just the opposite. I’m a super extrovert, my wife’s a super introvert.

          I’ve been telling people “The secret to staying happy and sane in a Pandemic? Marry an introvert and adopt a rescue dog with separation anxiety, you’ll be surrounded by beings who are DELERIOUSLY HAPPY to just be home all the time :)”

    3. 13

      I switched jobs days before the lockdown in Greece. The new work is totally remote, which in part was a good thing. On the other hand with all the family of 5 inside a small apartment during a strict lock down, this was not working from home, this was working with home. Now that the measures have relaxed, I wfh.

      We coped reasonably well given the situation. No tensions and we somehow managed to keep both us and the children occupied, though the daily count did impact their perception of things.

      On a personal level. No new hobby that I can brag about. I declared Haskell bankruptcy and started learning some Erlang and Groovy for work related reasons. I forgot all about xkcd 386 and got into some heated discussions about lockdowns, pandemic policies, whether Ioannidis or Taleb is right and the like. I wasted time, energy and calmness there.

      The worst thing: For the whole of lockdown I could not read a single page from a book, be it electronic or paper.

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        I have been working from home exclusively for about 15 years. When people ask how it’s going I tell them, it’s about the same for me, there’s just a lot more people here with me all day. I also lost my home office this year, so that change is particularly… noticeable. “This was not working from home, this was working with home,” is a very clever way to describe it.

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        Greece held reasonably well, thankfully. It helps that the population is small too.

        Χαιρετίσματα! :)

      3. 1

        I love that “Haskell Bankruptcy” :)

        I found reading tough during the super thick of it too but I’m coming back to it, mostly reading articles now and grazing at books again.

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          “Haskell Bankruptcy”

          I’d been trying to learn Haskell since 1998 when @mtheofy introduced me to it, because of his MSc studies.

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            Do you think you never got there because of lack of desire or the inherent inscrutability of the language, lack of good learning materials, or all of thee above?

            Feel free not to answer, just curious :)

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              I have a reasonable understanding of Prolog for a language I have not used in production (and I see this knowledge transferable to Erlang now that I am giving it a second try - funny the first one in 1997 before being opensourced).

              I believe the main reason that I failed with Haskell was that there was no real project for me to implement with it.

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                If you are a visual person like I am, you might enjoy scribbling little interactive programs using https://code.world/haskell#

                It offers a Haskell compiler a barebones IDE and a graphical environment at the click of a link and you can share your multi-user contraptions with your friends as a simple URL. Here’s the puny little beginnings of an agar.io clone I’ve started building with CodeWorld: https://code.world/haskell#PKXzp1mIAB8aiwek3UqyBug I’m building that project live but it’s in Turkish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbeWTD1dyPU

    4. 12

      I don’t really like to talk about my mental health as much as I do but a lot of people with my issues keep quiet for a lot for good reasons. So, here it is.

      Not well to be honest. I’m bipolar and for the last three months it’s been a real struggle. There’s been a lot of days I can’t do any meaningful work.

      My position was moved permanently remote in January, which is really awesome for me. (Still is, I love my home office and not having people interrupting me.) I have ADA accommodations and I’ve been using them heavy. Management and HR are being supportive, which makes things bearable. I shouldn’t have to worry about losing my job but I still worry about losing my job.

      I wish I could use the days off to do anything hobby related but if I can’t work, I can’t really do much of anything. I’m lucky if I can read a book or watch tv to escape for while. At least I’m keeping on top of my exercise and housework but that’s about it. Still sober. Working with my psychiatrist to adjust meds. Beyond that, I don’t see anything getting better soon.

      1. 3

        Hang in there

    5. 10

      I thrive under pressure having been depressed for a long time. I am still depressed and can go into a deep breakdown on occasion, but I learned to cope better and found ways to trick my brain. But this situation is something new and its absolutely teaching me to find new ways to fight the fight.

      I am mostly worried about my mother having to go to work at reduced pay and our city looks like a gone case with newly rising cases. I don’t know what I am going to do. I am rewatching The Office constantly.

    6. 9

      Here in the U.S. I think the sense of dread is palpable and spreading; itself a virus like the other. Fear is the mind killer, people. Dare I offer a quote from a mxn recently relegated to the hash heap? I guess so:

      You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period - I am addressing myself to the School - surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

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        Personally I think people should be looking at the data, and the US data is very concerning.

        To me this pandemic shone a light on social challenges in the US for a long time. If we assume that average infected person infects three other people when living their “normal” life, then the outcome for a country depends heavily on the fraction of people who refuse to take the threat seriously. If 10% don’t take it seriously, they will get the R number to 0.3 by themselves (10% x 3), so the other 90% of the population needs to contribute R of 0.7 to contain the virus, so that group needs to achieve a personal R of 0.77 (ie., 70%/9.) If 30% don’t take it seriously, they will get the R number to 0.9 by themselves, and the other 70% of the population needs to achieve 10%/7, or a personal R of 0.14, which is pretty much impossible. The size of the minority decides the outcome. And in the US, that minority is larger than in most other developed countries, which makes the outcomes significantly worse.

        As an Australian living in the US, I’m really tempted to go back and spend two weeks locked in a hotel room just because the situation there is on a much better trajectory, and as far as I can tell, it’s driven by the size of the minority. I’m expecting that this decides the economic outcome too, because countries that contain the virus quickly can restart things more quickly; countries that fail to contain it will end up with a combination of enforced lockdown and fearful consumers that will cause protracted economic harm.

      2. 3

        I’m a US-born person living in Berlin, Germany most of the time, occasionally spending extended stays back in the US with close friends and family. Seeing the situation unfolding in the streets while being unable to travel back has been far more anxiety inducing for me than anything related to covid, which, up until George Floyd was murdered, had been something of a renaissance time in my life.

        Now is the time that the pendulum could swing quickly in any direction in the US, and I feel quite guilty that I am not there to push it ever so slightly in the direction that could lead to me ever having the desire to permanently return.

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          I’m also someone who grew up in the US living in the UK, and feel exactly the same way. Solidarity <3

    7. 7

      I’ve worked from home for a decade or so, and I’ve been at this job for half of that, so…life didn’t change all that much for me personally. It was obviously a much, much bigger impact on my kids and my heart aches for them. My son had to have his ninth birthday without any of his friends, FaceTime/Zoom playdates just aren’t the same, and they miss being in school. My wife is doing all right, but it’s hard to be a stay-at-home parent when you literally have to stay at home all day.

      I actually had been approached by what I think was my dream job right before the pandemic started. I turned them down out of loyalty to my friends at my current job, which may or may not have been the right decision…but I think being in a new job, with all the uncertainty that brings, during a pandemic might have been too much. So I think that makes me worry less about having made the right decision.

      If anyone needs to talk, or anything, feel free to message me. I don’t know how much a random stranger on the Internet can do, but the offer is definitely there.

    8. 7

      Barely. I’m barely holding up. My work has doubled down on a number of things (my employer is beyond great, it’s the client that seems to have not let up despite working in a crisis.) The only saving graces are my general privilege, the fact that my wife wasn’t currently working anyway when preschool closed, and that preschool reopened a couple weeks ago. The last part helped dramatically because now my wife doesn’t need me to timeshift nearly as much to do parent duty on days where she needed to brave the grocery store, was exhausted, etc. It also helped our daughter’s general mental well being and stress levels (partially because ours went down).

      I’m still doing relatively well profesionally despite all this, but that’s because I was very selective about what I did (I dropped 90% of anything extracurricular and gotten a whole team to help with what I was doing alone at work). I went through with speaking at a virtual version of a conference I was supposed to do last month, because I am making the most of my 10% of extracurricular to do double or triple duty.

      Beyond that, forcing myself to take breaks from people in general (my work has been very collaborative lately so between that and family, I get no reset time), from work during the day when I can to be with family, and from both (albeit via video chat) on regularly scheduled occasions weekly with a small group of friends. It’s helping, but still having a lot of trouble and as an American, the general state of things adds more anxiety (mostly because I feel too burnt out to do more, but also because I feel like that’s not a real excuse given that I still have it relatively easy).

    9. 6

      On the job front - not so well. I was laid off in April with just a year of professional experience. I’m sure it’s mostly due to covid, but I rarely hear anything back after applying. I’ve been trying to stay sharp with personal project and leetcode (although procrastination has been a consistent problem lately), so I’m really just hoping I’m prepared enough if an opportunity were to come through.

      Otherwise - I’ve had a lot of time to practice music, read, and hang out. So no complaints there.

    10. 5

      I’m working for a remote first company, so this routine was just like normal. On top of that our main product is a platform enabling remote UX research, so instead of work drying up, we’ve never been this busy. I’m a workaholic, I’m ok with it.

      On a personal level I built in all these office commutes via bicycle etc to get exercise, and this constant home working routine has not been good for my health.

      Interestingly in a remote first org, we always had retreats where all 20 of us met up 2-3 times a year. Without those, the routine is much harder. Those retreats were really important as energy injections, getting everyone aligned behind the same goals, coming up with new ideas and just get drunk and frank together. Luxury problem compared to people not having a job at tall, I know.

    11. 5

      Before I joined my current job last March I was working remote for 5.5 years, so the remoteness is fine for me. With everything on lock-down for an extended amount of time I seem to have been working a lot more than before. In my team this seems to be a common pattern, so maybe the company is doing better than before.

      As for new hobbies: I tried gaming once more, but it is just not for me it seems. I don’t know why, but I seem to never be in the mood. I have always liked cooking and trying new recipes, but lately I am doing even more and more new things, which makes my girlfriend very happy.

      All in all it is fine. We both still have our jobs and nothing to complain about beyond “first world problems”…

    12. 5

      Not that great lately. I’ve been working remotely for about a year and a half, but when the pandemic started my previous client ended the contract to cut costs, and the new project is just… boring, especially in comparison to the old one. I have much less responsibility; I went from being basically a fully fledged employee of a somewhat big company, leading a couple projects with my team and being responsible for pretty much every aspect of them, to getting a bunch of tasks on jira and some XD mockups every two weeks. The dullness is really getting to me, and working from home only makes it worse.

      As for hobbies, I just kept my old ones. I started playing a lot of videogames again and knocked a lot of stuff off my backlog, I’m watching at least two new movies every week, and I started reading novels and manga again.

      I’m trying to develop a few new habits. Since getting a VR headset I’ve been playing Beat Saber for about an hour every day (which is a pretty good workout), and now I’m trying to cut out another half an hour after work to grind some Project Euler problems; I don’t feel much like working on my side projects lately and I want to change jobs and maybe try my luck at $BigCorp later this year, so brushing up on that kinda stuff is probably good.

      I read this post about developing habits so I’m taking it slow. Maybe in a month or so I’ll tackle writing blog posts more regularly.

    13. 4

      I got fired from one of my jobs just before the pandemic hit. I had another job that I have been doing for the past 16 years but that might be drying up as well since it was a small department, and the digital team was just me and my boss, who had a stroke and even though, thankfully, he is alive, the is not expected to go back to work. My tasks there now have trickled to maintenance and small stuff. That adds a bit of anxiety and pressure. I’m trying to use this upheaval to point my life towards what I actually enjoy doing which is writing books, making videos, and creating small tools for people. I hope to release a couple books in the next few months, and just mentioned here in another thread my new project to keep in control of my book publishing process.

      I’ve been a remote worker for close to two decades, so the pandemic new workflows are easier for me than they are for many other people. I’m trying to cope with being locked up by learning how to make better coffee and catching up on fantasy and science fiction books I’ve been wanting to read for ages. I still go a bit depressed from time to time, but participating in cool communities like this one helps a lot.

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        What good science fiction have you found? I have been enjoying Neal Stephenson. Fall; or Dodge in Hell, was a wonderful read. Stephenson turned me off at first and I refused to read his books. But Fall; introduced me to Snow Crash, which was also a great read.

        1. 1

          I love Neal Stephenson, I have all his books except for “Fall; or Dodge in Hell” which didn’t really attracted me by its description, but I’ll double check it again, good praise from you might just be the data point I needed to check it out. To be honest, I loved all his books, so I’m guessing I will like that one too. I have most his books in paper (some in hardcover even), that is how much I enjoy his work. But, as you read more of his stuff you’ll quickly notice that Stephenson has a particular way of making the endings of his books. The end of the book is not necessarily the end of the story, it is the end of the story he wanted to tell you, and in many occasions that that leaves you wondering what happened next. His books do not end in those “let’s wrap everything tidy” kind of practice that most books do, and that detracts many people from his works. It is up to you to deal with that, personally, I don’t mind at all, I understand how and why he does it, and I can still enjoy all the rest.

          If you enjoyed “Snowcrash”, then pick “The Diamond Age” that has a similar vibe but is placed a bit ahead in the future. Travelling all the way to the past with the Baroque Cycle trilogy is also a very good read, but be aware that those books are huge. The hardcover versions are so large that I often used them as furniture. Two of his books that I don’t see people talking often but that I really like are “REAMDE” and “Anathem”. I don’t know if the “Cryptonomicon” still has the impact it had when I first read it ~20 years ago, but it was fun.

          I don’t know what subgenre of science fiction you enjoy, buuuuut, if you’re game to trying new things, I’d recommend the Iain M Banks books from “The Culture” series, just be aware that the first two books are not as strong as the rest of the series. They are not really chronological, as in you can read them out of order but the author builds more and more into his universe as the books are written so picking a book from the middle or late Culture series will be a bit harder because he is assuming you already know a ton about the tech, ethos, and ways of things. I think that my favourites on that series are “Player of Games”, “Excession” and “Use of Weapons”.

          Two other authors that filled the void in my life after Iain M Banks passed away were Peter Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds. They have many books and some series. The Commonwealth Saga and Revelation Space series are quite dear to me and I expect other people to love them to.

          Oh man, I could go on forever but I have already typed a lot here. Feel free to reach out if you need more recs! :D

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            I suspect you may be interested to know this, I am 266 pages deep into this book and I am enjoying it thoroughly. The confucian quotes add to the appreciation, but the storyline is on par with snowcrash. I will confess, the storyline to Fall; or Dodge in Hell is still my favorite of these 3 books from Stephenson that I have read. Thanks again for the great suggestions my friend.

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              I’m so happy that you’re enjoying it. I think that the Diamond Age is my favourite Stephenson book (I kinda like them all but The Diamond Age has a special place in my heart). As soon as I finish with the current two books I’m reading, both fantasy — Oathbringer and The Lies of Locke Lamora — I’ll pick Fall; or Dodge in Hell.

              Also, if you’re here on Lobste.rs and you might appreciate his old essay In the Beginning was the Command Line. It is at the same time a bit dated and still relevant, IMHO.

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                Hey Soapdog, I thoroughly enjoyed the Diamond age, however still recommend Fall; or Dodge in Hell, if you haven’t picked it up yet ;) I’ll be reading In the Beginning was the Command Line.

                Are you a fan of Isaac Asimov? I really enjoy his work as well, but after re-reading your post from a few months ago, I realize there is a huge volume of good SciFi to choose from.

                Short stories are great too, my favorite short story is The Last Question by Asimov.

          2. 1

            Hello my friend, thank you for the thoughtful response… timing is odd in life, this comment picked me up when I needed it so thanks mate. Awesome, I have started reading the Diamond Age, so far it’s pretty gripping and feels similar to snowcrash, dytopian technical society. For sure, I’ll check the other authors out as well Obrigado muito bom. Tudo bem?

            Fall; is clearly written by the same author, but has a must more positive overtones than snowcrash, which was more gritty and gnarly. But Fall; is without a doubt a magical storyline, I do vouch for it being a great read.

          3. 1

            Stephenson didn’t do endings - maybe he’s better now but he wasn’t then.

            Other good British SF authors are Ian McDonald, Ken MacLeod and Paul McAuley. Despite all having Scottish surnames they’re based in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.

    14. 4

      Ok, so I was an ex-Christian that ditched the Bible due to science, morals, etc. That’s despite apparent miracles happening with my family at times. Turned into a good guy who woild sacrifice enormously for others but also plenty raunchy, argumentative, etc. Most people liked me. Burnout from a job was so stressful others were breaking out crying, falling out on cars, etc. I could take it despite PTSD by using a combo of breathing, positive attitude, and tough experience.

      Was deep in burnout for long time with days blending together. Prolly had liver, heart, and cancer problems on the way. Plus, anyone real never really leaves. Called out to unknown God that if they exist and want me back to give me a little time to pull myself up and Id bring others up with me.

      High-talent people popped up outta nowhere binded by all kinds of coincidences. Mostly went well. One was damaged and needed help which I gave. Stayed in tons of prayer. Situation kept challenging me to change super-fast to help them. I get blindsided by being disowned, then a fake stalking claim (our 1-on-1’s were a setup), and fake sexual harrassment claim. About to go to court, Lord said hold off: “I gotcha.” I did hesitantly. Within days, she ended it with a deal splitting us up with nothing on my record. My mgmt went “Wth?!”

      I wondered what I was being prepared for. Next shift was coronavirus. Skeleton crew with hours non-stop of desparate, angry people. In Christ, I was only person at peace (stressed though!). I took the worst calls, calming them down. We made it. I’ve served as many as I can since.

      Next tests were simpler. I handled a highly-privileged bully with patience and professionslism vs going ham. They escalated. Prayed on that. Corporate moved them in way that nobody has ever seen happen.

      A relative had let someone move in free to have money for bail. That person turned into total bum for many months. They were too loving to kick them out. I prayed hard for them while planning a response. Like the “Then Satan entered him verses,” the guy suddenly went nuts, tried to get their landlord to evict them with wild stories, and that got him kicked out. They were confused until I said it matched my specific prayer for enemies.

      Most were good. One that tested me was a guy got destroyed before my eyes by claim like first psycho, I forgave/blessed that enemy, and they got a house and new job out of state. Hmm… Still praying they transform then…

      So, lots of stuff like this. I started with prayer. Professed faith again later. Back into being righteous. Using tons of energy to have servant attitude toward everyone, love even the haters, kick mental immorality common in summer, get in Scripture, give to who needs, and pray without ceasing for many I encounter.

      Most PTSD symptoms and insomnia are minimal at the moment. I’m at this stuff from 5a-6:30a to midnight many nights. Tired but in a good way. The HR person that dealt with the people above is now my direct superior with them still here. Next test is on the way. Good that in my corner is My Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ with a Holy Spirit sustaining me in 13hr sprint shifts. I’ll be blessed either way. I’ll also try to pray for any here that request it where I have time. :)

    15. 3

      I’m lucky to be living in NZ, so the risk is much reduced for me.

      For Now.

      Everyone around me has returned to “Business as Usual”.

      My spidy senses are YELLING, NO, we cannot and should not go back to “business as usual”.

      The world has changed, covid will never go away, it will always be hammering at our borders, and it will leak past our controls on occasion.

      Whether due to covid or climate change, we shouldn’t be back to normal.

      We should be creating a new normal.

      We proved that Work From Home works for many of us, that should be the new normal for those who can.

    16. 3

      It’s great, thanks for asking.

      I didn’t like the lockdowns due to the virus, but this forced my company to open the full-remote mode. I love it. I can focus on my work, do more than previously, nobody is interrupting me so I can focus on things, I don’t feel I’m wasting my life sitting in one spot in the office. I don’t waste time to commute, so I have more time for myself and my SO, my contact with my teammates has actually improved, because now we focus on organizing it, instead of trusting for it to be an organic process.

      Having to wear the mask is pretty annoying, and everyone treating the other person as potentially infected sometimes can be too, but I think the annoyance is mostly a result of focusing on wrong things.

    17. 2

      Thankfully, I’d already been working from home most days of the week, due to my wife’s health issues, so going full remote wasn’t a crazy transition. I’ve not picked up any new hobbies, though we did buy a puppy, which has been a lot to keep up with, but also a joy. I have started a couple new projects, notably learning Elixir/Phoenix and picking Godot back up again. Work has been very good about understanding the changes and such.

      Mostly, life continues apace. Living with my wife’s health issues has taught me to take things one day at a time. The pandemic mostly just changed where I’ve been doing that.

    18. 2

      I got on paternity leave for four months on the day stuff got locked down here in Quebec. When he grows older, my son will be told how he was born during a plague (and l will make sure to dramatize a good bit for entertainment purposes).

      I’m going back to work in mid-July. I’ve been keeping in touch with the team, because I suck at extended vacations; our offices are shut down until September, last I heard, and everybody is remote until then. Right now, they’re evaluating what stuff is gonna look like when people come back, and I’m trying to use that opportunity to turn 4 days a week remote into 5 days a week remote.

      Which brings me to: for me, it’s been essentially business as usual, except the rest of my little tribe doesn’t get out much, which is doing weird stuff to our brains. Thankfully, we live some ways out of the big city and are not confined to an appartment. The kids can go out and enjoy the yard, which they do. Some stuff has reopened too, like some hiking paths. We haven’t gone on those much, yet. It’s slowly slowly starting to look like we can have a social life again, which to me means “bring the wife and kids over to the grandparents”, but it feels a bit risky still. On my wife’s side, it’s fine, but I got 2 brothers and 3 sisters and most of them are mega-careless, despite both my parents being in the medical field and us having brought up in a medically knowledgeable environment. Anyway.

      TLDR, I’m good, we holding up, I wish you all the same, long days and pleasant nights to you

    19. 2

      Eh, it’s a mixed bag. On one hand, I’m a graduate student, so my employment wasn’t really affected by the pandemic. On the other hand, it was going to be close as to whether I could FINALLY graduate this summer, but I wasn’t able to access my lab for about a month, so I’ll have to wait.

      The thing that really has me anxious though is what state the economy will be in once I graduate. I’d like to look for opportunities outside the US, but between the state of the economy, the cost of sponsoring a visa, and not being at the senior level, I really question my chances on this front.

      1. 1

        I’m starting my Master’s in CS this fall, and I feel the same way. My employment for the next two years is not really affected, but the situation once I graduate might be quite bad. I wish you the best of luck!

    20. 2

      Much better now that I’ve been going into the office. I moved from an apartment to a duplex last weekend and am still recovering from the processes (bruises everywhere, sore limbs, etc.). Work is heating up a bit too, we have a milestone that we’re pushing for at the end of the month, I haven’t gotten a chance to rest much for awhile now.

    21. 2

      Getting by, here. I live outside the city, and haven’t gone in since early March, which doesn’t bother me one bit. Still working the same job, doing the remote thing, which is also not a huge change — just that before 25% of meetings were Zoom calls and now 100% are.

      Getting out of the overcrowded open-plan and skipping the commute is nice, sharing a small house with my wife during the workday (not to mention pretty much 24/7) is challenging.

      Been low on motivation at work but I think that mostly comes from having gotten put onto a project in Feb that sounded interesting but has actually been totally dull, with not a ton for me to do. I’m working on fixing that, but in the meantime it leaves me time for some of those personal projects I never have enough time for.

      I ignore news of the outside world to the maximum extent possible. It does nothing good for me.

    22. 2

      The pandemic, and isolation, have drastically reshaped the way I use my free time for the worse. Where I normally would have gone outside, or been productive, I now have nothing to come back from to transition into “free time”. I think this has been very disruptive to my hobbies. Programming, writing, server maintenance tasks, etc are hard to scope into my time when time no longer has any meaning and my work is asynchronous with only a deadline once a week, as everything feels like free time, but I don’t have an appropriate feel for when I should be working on what. Depression makes it difficult to get out of bed some days, and this by extension has created a troublesome social media compulsion I’ve never had before. My brain has been tricked into interacting with content on the web that is unworthy of my attention out of sheer boredom, and I’ve found that for once I’m actually starting fights on the internet (non-productive ones, at least). I decided today that I would cut myself off from Mastodon for a week in an attempt to break this habit and try to return to my normal usage of social media after a break. Sure enough right after I first uninstalled my app for it (I use Tusky) my muscle-memory tried to reopen the app to check my notifications.

      Its been about a month since I’ve written any actual code for any project (not just a scriptlet to get around a personal issue, or a minor patch for a bug report). I’ve got to say that I previously thought that life with remote work and studying would be fairly simple, and for a while when I had synchronous remote work to do, interacting with others regularly, it was. However I have a newfound respect for those who can not only keep up with asynchronous remote work, but those who can do it and also keep up a healthy array of hobbies and habits (we can often joke about being the most prepared for this whole isolation thing, but usually we really aren’t). Anyways I hope you are all doing well, and stay safe if you have to go outside.

    23. 2

      Honestly it’s pretty great, and I don’t think I’d mind things remaining this way for the rest of the year.

      I think the lack of commuting has been a real benefit to my life. I’ve got back into reading regularly, back into the habit of cooking healthily almost every day (well, except for one or two takeaways a month if I’m feeling lazy), and I’ve smashed through a lot of stuff on my to-do list which had been lingering there for months or years. I’ve also had the time to start up a second weekly game group, so I’m now in 4 RPG sessions a fortnight (done over Discord and roll20). And finally I’ve been getting more sleep, I’m consistently getting >8 hours a night for the first time in years; or, was, until it started getting hotter recently.

      I like my own space a lot, and already lived alone in a fairly quiet area. I do pretty much all my socialising online, meeting people is tiring. So having almost no in-person contact since late March hasn’t bothered me at all.

      Regarding work, I have a stable job and absolutely no worries about being let go, so no concerns there. I’ve been less productive, but not to the extent that anyone has commented on it. So, no less productive than anyone else has been. It’s been very nice getting away from the open office.

      Recently I took a week off work. I couldn’t go anywhere, of course, but just having a week to myself with no commitments at all, just being able to sleep in, read books, do some hobby programming… it was great.

    24. 2

      In January I had birthday. When I woke up after the party, I skimmed my phone for news and learned that China just had locked down 17M people. Sh!t was about to hit the fan, and I shelled out over half of my vacation budget € for 8l sterilium, masks, filters for my 3M half and full face masks and loads of other stuff when everybody over here was busy going to carneval. Everything except the masks and the filters for the masks was delivered, but I was able to swap Sterilium (which went from 23€/box to well over 600€/box) for mask filters, and other medical stuff needed regularly for my parents.

      In February I was setting up Skype on much of my local relationships PCs and notebooks. “Why do I need this?” “You’ll see”. Oh boy was I right… Also I found a source for mask filters, yay.

      In March I was busy doing all sourcing and groceries for me, my parents and my aunt - all except me are high risk. flour and yeast was rationed or sold out, I managed to source flour at the mill in 25kg packs or yeast via internet from portugal in 500g packs (we are home baking everything since ages, it helps keeping a routine for my parents).

      In April there was mutiny - my parents go shopping on their own again, albeit sometimes with holes in the mask b/c breathing is otherwise too hard… do not ask, there is no logic. Think old stubborn people. I had to swallow hard often.

      In May we all developed adopted routines (“normality”.v2). Also my relationship, which due to the events was rather a tele relationship since 15. of February (she went to her home country), came to an provisionally end, because there is no chance to see each other, and she hated crying into Skype each evening. I can understand, I always cried afterwards.

      Since May, almost all of the Skype conferences meet.jitsi.org or whatsapp video talks with friends and relatives came to an end, it seems that nobody experiences anything worth telling the story.

      Im working from home, albeit with 50% reduced working hours. I find this more stressful than working full time, but very much like the no-commuting aspect.

      Life is stressful and boring at the same time.

      Time to become egoistic and get rid of the 6kg of pandemic waist.

    25. 2


      • Company is remote first and actually pretty good at changing things when needed so work hasn’t been impaced negative much.
      • We have now “Remote Team Lunch” and “Remote Team Beers” which is just a beer/coffee or lunch in front of Zoom. Its fun and yeah, it eases the tension a bit as not only talk about work.
      • We now have the habit of adding a coffee symbol to Slack status and put the Zoom-Link next to it. It means that your on Zoom with a coffee and don’t mind if somebody drops by for a bit of chit chat.
      • The “peoples department” organized a couple of kitchen coffee Zoom calls which is the same chit chat thing but better, because engineers are able to socialize more with other non-technical teams.

      So all in all, we made it through well. I’m a senior now, I hope that juniors are also okay. Hard to tell, but I think it is more difficult if you are younger, more insecure in this whole shitty situation.


      • Made it through +80 days of complete lockdown in Northern Italy.
      • Hardest part, not having a balcony, garden or so. Really missed the nature.
      • Got fined heavily by police for just going for my usual run in the local park (alone of course). Missed the news that this was not allowed anymore.
      • We cut down on Netflix and increased reading a lot, this was good.
      • Started the habit of drinking regularly, alone, which is bad. Still do. Need to get this in check.

      Still feel very fortunate and my thoughts are with those who aren’t.

    26. 2

      I’ve been writing a tabletop roleplaying game: https://twitter.com/theprincessxena/status/1275933284623679491. This seems to help me contain my anxiety. It’s been really bad lately. I still have my job and now it’s likely going to become a full time remote one, but goddamn this has not been a pleasant experience all around.

    27. 2

      I was a wreck for pretty much all of April and May, unable to work on tech projects and work. Thankfully, my boss was very understanding and didn’t penalize me for my change in performance and offered me plenty of sick time off when I needed it.

      Now, I’m slowly getting back into tech hobby projects now that I feel a lot better, and that cases are down and my country has arrived at what it considers its new normal.

    28. 2

      I recently graduated. Got lucky and found a consulting position for software development. I had to move from a city of ~80,000 to the twin cities metro area. Seems like the residents around here aren’t phased by the pandemic. The first day at my apartment there were people outside having a party (no masks-distancing). If only they realized they’re part of the problem…

      1. 3

        Seems like the residents around here aren’t phased by the pandemic.

        So the twin cities is kinda funky, there are the people that hewed to this hard, those people you wont see. Then there is also the more libertarian bent around here. They’re likely the ones you’re seeing out and about without masks (over generalization but its pretty apt given who I see using face masks as chin hammocks if even). My suggestion is note the bars you see things like this and avoid them like the plague they are. I went to my first bar and they had done things well, 6 foot distancing, wiped down thing after people left, etc….

        And they won’t change until either they get it or a family member does. As someone that knows a few nurses here all I’ll say is I take their word on how things are going a lot more than any talking head.

        Stay safe!

    29. 1

      Okayish. My area has been lightly hit by the pandemic and the lockdown is tentatively lifted for a couple weeks; restaurants are open for take-out or at half capacity, people are generally wearing masks, and it generally feels like everyone’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.

      Internally… eeeeh. Working from home is a bit of an up and down process. There’s really good weeks and really blah weeks. Work is not really helping, as I have been roped into a short-term, high-intensity project. And just this week I discovered that another developer on it burned out and quit the company. So… yay.

    30. [Comment removed by author]

    31. 1

      My work was not impacted insofar as that I can do everything I need to do remotely just fine.

      I made the mistake of not taking care to choose a good spot for working at home so I was impacted with a bit of RSI (or however you want to call it), but I’ve fixed that now (using my normal good desk + chair and just switching monitors from my personal PC every day).

      Sure I’d like to go outside but it’s day 107 (yep, keeping track) and apart from lack of exercise it’s pretty good here. I miss chatting to my coworkers (really only doing that in the few minutes before standup now) and especially not talking to people from other teams, otherwise it’s fine. 3 months isn’t overly long for not seeing some friends and I’ll actually go see some for the first time this weekend. I guess I’m simply connected to them via chat good enough to not miss a lot in person. Also I don’t live alone, that might help. And I wouldn’t call my myself introvert or extrovert, really.

      Habits? I hate that I can’t go mountain biking, really. Started to play more video games, that’s fine though. Some friends and I try to do a weekly lunch meeting over hangouts now, and with some other folks we’re doing an hour of “TechTalk” every friday. Basically developers showing off cool things or ranting about stuff, but it’s a small group of people who have known each other for many years.

      So overall I can’t really complain but I absolutely see how it impacts others.

    32. 1

      It depends. I was already partly working remotely before the lockdown but I was moving to another country to join my partner (after living in two separate countries during one year). I was in the wrong one when the borders closed and had to stay the all lockdown time at my mother places without most of my stuff. I was depressed, unproductive at work and all the way in bad shapes. I managed to cross the borders again a few weeks ago. My current contract will end next week. I am in a big rush to finish everything on time and move on to new adventures. It is a stressful time now and it will be too after next week when I will begin my job hunt in a new country and looking for an apartment at the same time. Netherlands here I come.

    33. 1

      I relocated for a job one week before the state went into lock down. Working from home has been OK because I have my wife here with me but every once in a while I want to go to an office for a change of pace.

    34. 1

      Struggling a bit. In the last couple days the lack of human connection is starting to get to me. I guess that’s not too bad given we’re almost four months into it.

      We’re all really lucky to be in tech, and my employer has been fantastic. One thing I noticed though is I’m working on a v-team for a boss I’ve never worked for before, and it’s really important to have a long relationship with your boss for remote work, because you need to be able to understand each other in a more emotionally-bandwidth-constrained environment.

    35. 1

      Quit well. I already worked remotely, though I was planning to rent a desk or office to get out of home more. The pandemic put an end to that temporarily. The primary thing that changed for me is that my wife now also works at home and that schools were closed for ~2 months, so our daughter was at home as well. Schools are open again, which is great for her. Luckily NL were quite lenient with kids, so even during the pandemic she could play with other kids, but getting back to her friends at school has been great for her.

      I didn’t renew my contract pre-pandemic, since I wanted to start (part-time) consulting. But it’s not the ideal time for that switch. We’ll see how things will go.

      Physically, it has been an improvement. Before I went remote, I used to cycle 22km every work day. That sort of stopped when we moved away and I started working remotely. During the lockdown I have started cycling more frequently again and I now try to do 30-60 minutes every day (we were allowed to go out for sports, etc. as long is you avoid grouping to much with other people, and now the lockdown is over).

    36. 1

      To be honest, not that great? The lack of true private time from being cooped up with my partner hasn’t been good for my introvert self.

      I’ve been making improvements to my diet, fitness, sleep, etc. but that has, at best, staved off exhaustion from months of quarantine and anxiety from local civil unrest.

      I could really use some time out of the house.

    37. 1

      It’s actually been good for me, I think.

      Pandemic cancelled my final exams for the winter term; I was able to keep my grades for the classes that I was worried about, instead of gambling 40% of my points in the span of 1.5 hours. Then, the entirety of spring term was online, which made it a lot more peaceful than I think it would’ve been otherwise. Being home alone made it more appealing to get exercise, so that’s been another benefit. And I’ve been working remotely as always.

      It feels weird saying this about an event that led to so many deaths and so much damage to people’s lives (even those in other comments on this post), but I suppose I’ve had the privilege to somewhat appreciate it.

    38. 1

      I’m an industrial programmer and we do lots of work for utilities so unfortunately I’ve had to work on site throughout the whole pandemic so far. Managed to remain healthy (as far as I know) but it’s terrifying! Definitely looking to change fields soon.

    39. 1

      I was already working from home, have been for over 10 years. Also grew up in a really remote area of northern Canada, barely had any neighbours, worked jobs that put me out in the forest for long periods of time. The pandemic basically didn’t take much of an adjustment for me. My wife wanted to quit her job anyway so the pandemic was an easy out for her. The financial side worries me a bit, food costs where we are seem to be going up steadily. And I worry about my kids and the fact they’re not getting a lot of social time with friends. But mentally I’m good, still have a really good job, haven’t ended up in divorce court.

    40. 1

      Physically, I put on the quarantine 15 because a vacation segued directly into self-isolation for 14 days after a likely exposure while attending a 5,000 person event from which three people were hospitalized with COVID-19 during that vacation. I’d suspended my diet for that vacation knowing that I’d put on a few pounds that I could work off in a few weeks. I did not expect to need to plan for a nigh post-apocalyptic diet as leaving the house became risky. Carbs were eaten. Many. I worked off about 5 of those pounds in the months following but I’m back up following a switch back to the keto diet I’ve ~maintained for 6+ years. I’m looking forward to fitting back into clothes I could wear when I was 15 lbs lighter for all of 2019.

      Mentally, I’m doing OK. Some living situation changes are normalized now as a family member moved in with us because of her live-in job going away at the start of the pandemic. I’m happy to have them around but it’s showing that our house barely fits three adults. My work is slow but steady. One of my non-profits has really benefitted from the pandemic while another one is essentially suspended as the tech conference industry has gone “free and online”. My side business has lost about 40% of its revenue with no upward force in sight. We have savings that will keep our heads at the water line but if conditions continue into next year, we’ll have to drastically alter our business plan to keep the business alive. We’re already looking at other ways to generate revenue as being a primarily mendicant operation is fraught with revenue unreliability. Altogether, I’m probably about even but it’s not been without ups and downs, wins and losses, and some long conversations about the future.

      I wish I had more time to focus on me, but servant leadership is the path I’ve chosen and it is not one easily paused or exited.

      1. 2

        Props for looking after others with the self-isolation and going for servant leadership. Hope and pray you do well with all this.

    41. 1

      I battle my bipolar disorder (very successfully) with physical exercise. I cannot do that anymore.

      It’s going exactly how you think it would be going. 🙃

      1. 1

        Did you mean you can’t go to the gym or something happen to you physically that prevents you from exercising?

        If the first, I found some benefit in using resistance bands. I’ve been using them on a tree outside whose angle lets me do my arms at least. You might be able to wrap them around something heavy in your house if nothing outside. Just be careful doing that.

        1. 2

          I’ve actually been able to do some things at home (I own a set of resistance bands and a medicine ball for at-home exercising) but my primary source of exercising pre-pandemic was ice hockey which got me ~200 BPM exercises that didn’t feel like “work”. I get by with the at-home stuff, but the hockey nearly eliminated my symptoms.

          1. 2

            Ah that makes sense. Hopefully this stuff clears up soon so you can get back to hockey.

          2. 2

            I’ve had some luck with VR games for “workout without it feeling like work”. Hard to keep enough space clear though.

    42. 1

      Ever since the gyms opened back up, it’s been fine. Been working from home a long time now, and we homeschool, so not much to adjust to otherwise.

    43. 1

      Doing great now that I’m able to work out and see my friends. Thanks for asking!

    44. 1

      I need to find a job, I tried to do my own SaaS startups (multiple times) but it didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. I’m low on cash, and I can’t afford to keep going at my current burn rate. I’m stuck holding the bag of a bunch of illiquid assets (startup stock mostly).

      I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about life (the world, politics, climate change, etc) but I’m generally an optimist. I still think technology can solve a lot of the world’s problems, but we need political change for that to happen.

      So…if anyone wants to hire an experience serial entrepreneur, LMK. Here’s my GitHub profile: https://github.com/brndnmtthws

      1. 2

        Hey man, I went through your GH and blog, you have some interesting content. I’m sorry things haven’t worked out for you. As someone that would also like to start his own startup and is currently working full-time at a company with a comfortable salary, I look at your blog posts and feel afraid that I may fall in the same situation if I decide to take the leap. As yourself I consider myself a good engineer and not so good at building relationships and making contacts. I’ll ponder on what you’ve written and plan accordingly. While I can’t offer you a job I do hope you get back up soon. Don’t be pessimistic, things will get better. Good luck brother!

        1. 1

          Thanks for the kind reply!

    45. 1
      • How are you holding up mentally/physically during the pandemic?

      A little fatter. More stressed. More anxious. I need to remember to swing my kettlebells. (Friendly tip: they take up almost no space, and are incredible efficient for both strength and cardio. Great optimized-workout tool. )

      • Are you still working the same job (remote?) Yes, fortunately.

      • have you picked up any new hobbies/habits that have been impactful in a good or bad way?

      I acquired a viola, started to learn to play. Then forgot to practice. Le sigh.

      I’m also doing some writing on software engineering, hoping to launch a patreon.