Do you suffer pain when using keyboard and mouse?

Do you suffer pain when using keyboard and mouse?

Postby Lyberta » 26 Jun 2020, 23:41

Well, now that my parents are dead and I don't suffer constant abuse from them, I have the capacity to deal with lesser problems. And today's topic is equally "fun":

How using mouse and keyboard can lead to physical pain, emotional pain, psychological trauma and panic attacks

So, I'm left-handed and this is where it all begins. Historically I was using other people's computers and they all had mice configured for right-handed people, so I had to start using mouse with right hand. I felt significant discomfort but computer games made me stop thinking about parents' abuse so physical discomfort was a small price to pay. But of course, ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away. And over decades it adds up. Greatly.

Using right-handed mouse had far reaching consequences. First, at least in my brain, I notice that in order to move mouse precisely I mentally keep my right hand fixed while I move my entire body with my left hand. I know, this doesn't make any sense but this is how I mentally manage to use my dominant hand because my right hand is barely capable of doing fine movements. This is greatly exacerbated by helicopter-based GUIs. However, in order to "move the mouse in right hand with left hand" I need to keep both of my hands close to each other in front of me. And this leads to the way I use keyboard.

Historically I came to the setup where the right side of keyboard and left side of mouse pad are exactly in the center and align with the middle of the monitor. This minimizes the physical pain when using the mouse but has great consequences in how I use keyboard. With this setup using the left side of keyboard where all the letters are is very physically painful. So I avoid the left side of keyboard at all costs. This means using WASD for shooters is out of question. I use arrow keys. However, I don't get similar keys to Q and E and I can reach much less keys without looking at the keyboard. For me it's basically right ctrl, right shift, enter, backspace, delete, end, page down and numpad.

Playing video games with arrow keys is challenging. Historically, I started playing Counter-Strike at computer club where you don't rebind keys but arrow keys were available. But reload was still bound to R. So WASD players could reload blindly while I had to look away from the monitor and at the keyboard, find the R key, press it and move my hand back to arrow keys. This gave me significant disadvantage over WASD players but I got used to this suffering and played like that for 10 (TEN!!!) years. Ultimately, I realized that this doesn't make sense and bound reload to "delete" key so I can reload blindly like WASD players. I was very ashamed of myself at that time because it took me 10 years to rebind the keys to minimize suffering when playing video games. But now I can forgive myself because I understand that all my mental resources were dedicated to sustaining the abuse of my parents and I didn't have any left to think about how I use computer and minimize (or maybe even eliminate) suffering when using it.

Video games is, of course, not the only thing that requires keyboard. The other significant thing is typing text. Naturally, since using the left side of keyboard hurts, typing text hurts. Now I realize why I always took time to write the code in my head and didn't want to write it on the keyboard - it hurts! Typing every line of code over at least last 10 years hurt. This is insane. Well, without even being conscious about it, I started having considerable anxiety whenever there was a need to type text. And do you know what is the most common thing that requires typing text? Linux terminal. Oh yeah. Using terminal was always associated with years and years of pain writing text. I was very scared of terminal, I avoided it at all costs. I tried to always find a mouse-driven GUI because I already minimized physical pain when using mouse because of video games.

But sometimes there is no GUI. There is no escape from the pain. And my first encounter with this was VPS. My wife has saved me an insane amount of pain when she taught me how to use SSHFS so I can mount server's file system and navigate it with mouse as if it was local. But there was no way to edit config files and type SSH commands with mouse. I mean, I guess I could have installed on-screen keyboard but then I would have to suffer when doing fine mouse movements to click on the proper key. Configuring my server was hell but I managed to survive it.

But the biggest trauma was in January 2018. I was visiting a local user group related to programming and one time I happened to be the only person with laptop so we added projector to it and I was showing my stuff. As usual, I tried to use everything with mouse to minimize the pain. But then the organizer went "why don't you use a terminal?" with further rhetoric in the ballpark of "real Linux users use terminal". I... complied during that day but internally I was furious. Before that I didn't really meet Linux users in real life so I generally thought that people share my suffering of using terminal (and typing text in general) and avoid it. And people who say that terminal is better or post articles and guides consisting of terminal commands are just trolls or insane nobodies. But now I saw a real flesh-and-blood human being like that. So that's what it is. Linux terminal users emotionally and psychologically abuse other people to force them to use terminal and derive pleasure from that. Linux terminal users are psychopatic sadists just like my parents.

From that point forward terminal users became my enemy. And terminal itself became The Great Embodiment Of Evil. I was putting all resources I had to avoid it. This issue also became the reason of a couple of conflicts with my wife who prefers to do everything with keyboard. Eventually, I started having panic attacks from just seeing her use her computers. My mental health was tanking.

But the VPS is what eventually put me into a huge breakdown. I've tried to put X server on the VPS so I can avoid using terminal but I couldn't. And nothing made sense anymore. Obviously, there was one command to solve this:

{l Code}: {l Select All Code}
rm -rf / --no-preserve-root


Yeah, that solved the problem. After that I was in such huge breakdown that I went to rant with gems such as

"If you want to use Linux, you have to know terminal" "If you want to know terminal, you have to be white male neckbeard incel virgin who hates women"


Yeah, decades of physical and emotional pain and trauma from using mouse and keyboard started breaking me down completely. However, my father was still alive so I couldn't focus on this problem.

The breakthrough was a week ago. I was watching my wife play ARMA 3. It is a military simulator notorious for having so many commands that almost all keyboard keys are used for something. When I played it myself, I had to spend about 3 hours (no kidding!) rebinding dozens and dozens of keys to play the game with arrow keys but I still suffered considerably because there were still plenty of keys on the left side of the keyboard. As a result, I didn't use almost half of the features the game presented because there was simply too much pain to use them. But my wife had no problem. I was blown away. She played so much better than me just because she could press all keyboard keys without physical pain.

This was enough. This is insane. I suffer huge pain from using mouse and keyboard. I have panic attacks from seeing my wife use her computers. I suffer in video games because my hand can't reach as many keys as WASD players can. I can't even play some games (like Enter The Gungeon) because they assume that people don't use "delete" key for gaming or have bugs where some keys are not recognized at all (like Enter key in many Source engine games, some were patched but Left 4 Dead 2 is still unplayable).

And all of it started because I used right hand for my mouse. Damn. I have bought a keypad which is basically the left half of the keyboard so I will have access to enough keys as WASD players have and I can put it near mouse pad so I will suffer the same amount of pain as using arrow keys. I also bought a graphic tablet because there is no way I will try to learn to draw with right hand. The next step is buying ambidextrous mouse so I can use my left hand with it and have keyboard to my right side. This can totally make the keypad obsolete but it is still a good temporary solution before I change mouse. And after all of that I need my neck taken care of. I really want to undo all the damage that using mouse with right hand did to my neck. I don't want to suffer any pain at all when using computers.
User avatar
Lyberta
 
Posts: 772
Joined: 19 Jun 2013, 10:45

Re: Do you suffer pain when using keyboard and mouse?

Postby Julius » 27 Jun 2020, 00:51

Yes, I 100% agree, keys should be rebindable and mouse should be ambidextrous (although I am right handed and use WASD). And really interface design should go the extra mile of catering to "lefties" as well.

While not totally relevant to your case, forcing left handed people to use the right hand has been a very bad and abusive practice in many European countries really not all that long ago (my parents generation) and luckily it is now being recognized for the real damage it can cause.

But please don't take naive ignorance by "righties" as anything but that :)

However dis-comfort in using screen and input devices can also come from many, many, other things (seats, tables, badly placed screens etc.). While you are young it doesn't seem to matter all the much, but once you hit your thirties (or a bit older if you are lucky) you really need to make a conscious effort to ergonomically arrange the place you are likely spending many hours a day in. The earlier you start with it the less discomfort and pain you will have.

P.S.: Red-Green blindness is real and is surprisingly wide spread. Also not personally effected, but I have some friends that are...
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” - Philip K. Dick
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 2867
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: Do you suffer pain when using keyboard and mouse?

Postby GunChleoc » 27 Jun 2020, 13:20

You could try getting a split keyboard so you can switch the right and left sides. This will of course only work if it's not slanted. Your wife can then switch them back when she's using the computer.

I work a lot with the touch pad, and really hate 2-finger scrolling, because it hurts my hand. Fortunately, Linux drivers let you switch back to edge scrolling. It's right-handed only though for the vertical scroll, so I recommend you do get a mouse.

BTW you can connect 2 mice with the computer if you have enough USB ports, so you could get an ergonomic left-hand mouse four yourself and a right-hand mouse for your wife. I tend to have 2 mice hooked up in case one of my hands gets tired, then I can switch sides for a bit.

Here's an article by a graphics tablet user you might find useful: https://www.davidrevoy.com/article761/k ... tall-guide
User avatar
GunChleoc
 
Posts: 479
Joined: 20 Sep 2012, 22:45

Re: Do you suffer pain when using keyboard and mouse?

Postby Lyberta » 28 Jun 2020, 02:02

Ok, I have tried both keypad and tablet. The results are bad. In both cases I've encountered neck pain.

I've tried playing Half-Life 2 with keypad and found that going from WASD to R for reload and left ctrl to duck is painful. Jumping with space is really nice though but performing crouch jump is very complicated. This seems to be sidegrade at most but I would need to put full size keyboard on top (that is, something like wooden construct) to type console commands and chat in multiplayer.

Graphic tablet is what really let me down. Just holding the stylus in left (and right) hand is painful. I've found that when it comes to mouse I just put entire weight of my hand on it and relax. With stylus you have to hold it in the air when you don't draw. That hurts. I've tried GIMP for like 10 minutes and then had to put it off. Too much pain. I've also found that I have an area of about 5x5 cm when pain is minimal, but moving anywhere outside that area increases the pain considerably. That means I have to either restrict tablet area via driver or move the tablet when I want to move more than 16th (1/4th on each axis) of screen. Trying to click buttons in GIMP with stylus is a nightmare, my hand shakes from pain and I keep missing. And then my wife tried the tablet and could reach any part of drawing area effortlessly.

Conclusion: I really need my neck fixed. This is a serious condition that impacts my quality of life.

GunChleoc {l Wrote}:You could try getting a split keyboard so you can switch the right and left sides. This will of course only work if it's not slanted. Your wife can then switch them back when she's using the computer.

GunChleoc {l Wrote}:BTW you can connect 2 mice with the computer if you have enough USB ports, so you could get an ergonomic left-hand mouse four yourself and a right-hand mouse for your wife.


We have separate computers. She runs Gentoo and spends most of her time (outside of playing video games) in terminal while I'm just a Debian peasant who uses GUI with mouse. In fact, after the death of my parents I have consolidated all hardware in one place and now we have 5 desktops and 2 laptops split between just 2 of us.

GunChleoc {l Wrote}:I work a lot with the touch pad, and really hate 2-finger scrolling, because it hurts my hand. Fortunately, Linux drivers let you switch back to edge scrolling. It's right-handed only though for the vertical scroll, so I recommend you do get a mouse.


Definitely. When I bought my first laptop I bought full size keyboard and mouse with it.

GunChleoc {l Wrote}:Here's an article by a graphics tablet user you might find useful: https://www.davidrevoy.com/article761/k ... tall-guide


Interesting. He talks about making the UI smaller while I constantly struggle to make it bigger. I have 109 ppi monitor and by default everything looks very small. It hurts to read the text and I keep missing buttons with my mouse. I have set fonts to 10pt at 109 ppi in my DE (MATE) but not all programs respect it. In Firefox I had to additionally set layout.css.devPixelsPerPx to 109/96 = 1.1354 to have reasonably sized UI. I also set default font size to 22pt (from 16pt) and minimum font size to 16pt because that is what looked good for my eyes. Yes, that breaks some sites but I figured that I don't want to read them either. Web designers either respect that people have different needs or I don't respect such web designers.

For my own websites I use percents as font size and 1/16th of em as "virtual pixel" for non-font stuff (because most browsers have 16pt as default font size so 1/16th of em would be one physical pixel at 96 ppi). I also only use SVG for design elements. That way my websites fully respect the user's default font size (which is "100%" in CSS terms) and scale everything perfectly no matter what it is or the PPI of the screen.

For my secondary Windows computer that I barely use I figured that I don't need "purity" of matching my monitor's PPI and just want UI to be comfortable. I ended up setting global scale of everything to 140%. I find it really stupid that there is only one scale and not two: for matching monitor PPI and scaling UI on top of that. It basically assumes that only PPI of monitor matters and not user's eyes or hands.

My father was almost blind so I set high contrast theme, global UI scale to 200%, on top of that I set fonts to about 20"pt" (yeah "pt" doesn't really mean what it should mean at this point) and I still found that in Firefox he set the scale to up to 180% for some sites on top of all that. That in total meant that he needed fonts about 500% of the default scale. I also had to set custom CSS colors in Firefox and forced them for all sites because my father was blinded by white background. So many sites were barely usable or broken with this but that's the only way he could read text.

Also, back to the link, that guy has some serious graphic artist focused desk setup. That inspired me to take a fun photo of what my desk would look like with all my input devices:
InputEverything.JPG


We also seem to have the exact same model of scanner. I wonder if we both picked it from the list of SANE supported ones.
User avatar
Lyberta
 
Posts: 772
Joined: 19 Jun 2013, 10:45

Re: Do you suffer pain when using keyboard and mouse?

Postby GunChleoc » 28 Jun 2020, 08:35

I was just thinking, if you put the mouse beside you instead in front of you, that would change your neck and shoulder posture. It might help or not. Like this:

{l Code}: {l Select All Code}
--------------------------------------
Desk with keyboard & monitor
--------------------------------------
| Mouse | > Chair <
| on    |
| Side  |
| Table |


The height of the table and of the monitor also matters.

You could also try sitting on a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise_ball and try to straighten your back, because it also affects your neck. Optimally, you would be sitting somewhat higher than the height of your knees, with your legs slightly apart. Really sitting straight is something one actually needs to be taught by an expert.

You should also get up regularly and exercise your back, neck and arms. Every 15 minutes would be good, but that takes watching the clock 100% of the time (not ideal), so just do it whenever you think of it. Pinwheeling your arms should be a simple enough exercise that shouldn't screw things up even worse. Getting some proper physiotherapy from somebody who knows what they're doing is what you really need though to perform the best exercises for fixing your condition and to perform them correctly.
User avatar
GunChleoc
 
Posts: 479
Joined: 20 Sep 2012, 22:45

Re: Do you suffer pain when using keyboard and mouse?

Postby Lyberta » 01 Jul 2020, 10:50

OK, the my main mouse started having mouse wheel problem and double clicking when I want single click. It got to the point of panic attacks and me being scared of using computer at all. I wanted to make 2 big posts about my neck and my history with mice but now I just feel too bad and need to talk to the therapist to stop panic attacks and suicide thoughts.

EDIT: Also, on a related note, my knees are busted and this is also a huge source of physical and mental pain. Getting up from bed after I wake up, going to the toilet and taking shower are pretty traumatic experiences. I managed to break an arm rest on my computer chair after just 6 months of use because when I get up from chair I put as much weight on my arms as possible in order to minimize knee pain. I hope to get some kind of arm handles for physically disabled people near my bed, toilet and bathtub to minimize pain.
User avatar
Lyberta
 
Posts: 772
Joined: 19 Jun 2013, 10:45

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest