For those who may not know, April is autism awareness month. I wasn't originally planning posts in honor of the month, but something that happened last week started me thinking about something that's not often talked about
"But Amanda," exclaim those of you who read the title, "people talk about meltdowns all the time. Shutdowns not so much, but they're talked about plenty too."
And yes, meltdowns and shutdowns are discussed, but not often in the way I will speak about them today. When these facts of life as an autistic individual are spoken about, it's almost always in a completely negative light. The “symptoms” are all negative. You rarely hear about causes for them that are not wholly negative, and their purpose is also almost never spoken about.
Updates and Answers
Posting here or any writing progress at all has been halting and slow for a few years now. I have been open about my frustration at the lack of answers to new, severe physical and mental symptoms over those same years. I was diagnosed with autism, Chiari I Malformation, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Those diagnoses provided answers to several issues I have experienced my whole life. Still, they could not explain why I kept having what looked like myoclonus and dystonia episodes, involuntary movements or muscle contractions that pull you into odd postures, and cognitive impairments that seemed like the early stages of dementia with increasing frequency over the past decade.
I bounced between various neurologists, therapists, and a rheumatologist for almost three years now in search of answers until I was finally referred to the Movement Disorders Clinic at UAB last month. The neurologist I saw there reviewed all the imaging and tests run over the past few years, ran a few tests of her own, asked a series of questions, and finally diagnosed me with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND).
Okay. Okay, this isn’t the usual content on here, but to be fair, I was still having trouble with focus when I started this project. I have since changed meds, and through the magic of lower side effects, I’m beginning to baby-step my way back into writing stories and articles. It’s still slow going, but I’m managing to scrape together the focus to make headway for a little bit most days. So this is likely to be the last Sims 4 Challenge for quite a while.
This one does pertain a bit more to fiction and writing than the Color Spectrum Challenge did, and it gives the player both a bit more wiggle room and a higher challenge than the last one. It is still based around 10 generations, each affecting the next, but each generation is based on a common character trope. Since tropes tend to have a fair amount of variance across genres and even within the same, you are provided with a few options to choose between here and there.
I had a lot of fun while playtesting this challenge. You can even find some of my families and the builds from that play-through on the gallery under Tekaran_Lady. (You may need to tick the allow custom content or modded items buttons. They don’t actually have any CC, but I had MCC Command Center, Wonderful Whims, and the Better Schools mods installed when I uploaded them. Why that automatically counts them as having CC, I don’t know, but it does.)
If you decide to give the challenge a shot, please let me know how it goes. Or if you post about your games anywhere, send links. I would absolutely love to see what you make of the challenge.
We Now Have Discord!
I set up a discord server yesterday. I mean for it to be a place where anyone who enjoys science fiction, fantasy, mythology, and everything in between can come talk about those things and find others with similar interests.
To be frank, I have kind of gotten sick of how the Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube algorithms pick and choose who is "worthy" to connect with their communities on a regular basis. It has gotten to the point where if you aren't spending half the day posting on them or have thousands of followers or views, you are basically yelling into an empty void. Even with Discord, you have to have 1000 members on a server before you can make it searchable, but at the very least, those who join a server can see all the posts on said server.
So, come join me on The Tekaran Lady server. We can meet up in the Living Room channel for general conversations, talk about stuff that's genre specific, and in general, have conversations with friends without having them get buried in an endless sea of unwanted ads.
The last few years have been interesting, to put it mildly. A series of events, frustrating struggles, and worrisome symptoms put me on a path of self-discovery that has been helpful in understanding much of my life and why I struggle with certain things. Overall, it has been helpful, but it hasn’t been easy.
I have already spoken at length about being diagnosed with autism at 38 following a burnout severe enough to cause a “regression.” I have talked about increasing issues with being able to speak, and sometimes even write, which drove me to visit doctors, receive specialist referrals, and undergo numerous tests that found a Chiari malformation and hEDS without giving answers about the cause of my communication difficulties. As it turns out, all we can really do is eliminate any physical causes of the symptoms and then take our best guess at what is going on based on similarities to others with similar experiences.
The “Not So Berry” challenge for the Sims 4 created by LilSimsie and AlwaySimming inspired this one. It has a similar structure, but I have tried to make it completely different at the same time.
Like the “Not So Berry” challenge, you have a backstory and several goals for each generation. Also, the generation heirs embody a specific color somewhere on the light/color spectrum. I decided to start with black, as the absence of color, and go through the visible light spectrum until the challenge finishes with white, a combination of all colors in the visible light spectrum. I wasn’t entirely sure where brown was supposed to fall, so I placed it just after black since that’s where it seemed to fit the best.
So That Happened…
I think I'll avoid the usual end-of-year and new year posts. I seem to end up jinxing myself by writing about hopes and plans for the coming year.
As you probably guessed based on that opening paragraph, 2021 ended up being another rough year. It is the main reason I haven't posted here since January, and I have been almost as inactive on social media as a whole.
The issues with non-speaking episodes and aphasia I mentioned last year continued to worsen until writing anything became difficult enough to force my departure from freelancing by the end of April. I received a neurologist referral before the end of 2020, but there were no appointments available until March. That started an almost year-long bout of visits, imaging, bloodwork, trials of different medications, and visits with even more specialists.
New Year Updates
Anyone who has been here for a while knows I'm not big on making resolutions for each new year. 2021 is no different in that regard; however, after the train wreck that was 2020, I do want to take the occasion to try and get things back on track.
Thoughts on Own Voices
I began looking into the autism hashtags on Twitter in late 2018 and early 2019 between beginning to suspect I might be autistic and before seeking a diagnosis. Like most social media sites, Twitter uses algorithms to determine what to show you, even from the people you follow. So an interesting thing happened as I broadened my searches from just writing related topics to autism and ADHD.
Tweets and hashtags related to the own voices movement, most specifically those related to authors with autism and ADHD, began popping up in my feed. Before then, I hadn’t heard of such a thing.
Back to Basics: Onomatopoeia
Today’s lesson covers a very simple form of figurative language. An onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like its meaning.
Examples would include words such as boom, bang, crunch, clatter, crackle, hiss, and buzz.
Comic books and comic strips have made use of enough onomatopoeia it has become rather cliche. Who hasn’t seen a panel of a superhero punching a villain with a big “pow” written out in colorful bubble letters?
A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and the home-schooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
77384 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
Icarus Series Book 2
Sketched w/ Some Drafting
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Icarus Trilogy Book 3
Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4