Sul sul! By nature, I’m a private person, but today is a good day to share my personal sim story. Why today? Because I’ve been having immense fun–and great challenges–working on my new YouTube channel, and, specifically, creating a story for the upcoming StrangerVille Game Pack. This pack has caused me to reflect why The Sims is such a special game to me: It helped heal my brain.
I didn’t begin playing The Sims as a kid like so many. My dad actually played the original Sims and my kids played Sims as well. When The Sims 4 was released, the youngest enjoyed playing it and would share builds and sims with me. I, however, for those sixteen years had been busy with other things.
After a work injury and recovery, I found myself with more time than I’d ever had before. I bought my own copy and played here and there. Then, in the spring of 2016, I had a traumatic brain injury. Because of my professional training, I knew the importance of rebuilding connections in my brain’s super highway. Yet, I couldn’t focus to read, something I have always loved since I was four. My eye-hand coordination needed work, and I was unable to draw, sew, or craft.
My Sims game (figuratively) called me, and I began playing. I fell in love with the sandbox style and the rich history and sim lore. The game was simple enough for me to play with minimal frustration. I could play an hour, three, and then not for a few weeks and pick right back where I left off.
Sales occurred, and I bought the extra packs when there were bundle deals. Then Jungle Adventure was released a year ago in February 2018. It looked intriguing, and I didn’t wait for a sale (sorry, honey). I was hooked. I had so much fun playing through the adventure; I loved the new world and everything about it. The stories about “The Watcher” intrigued me: I wanted to find out more. That led me to exploring Windenburg’s lore. I was a simmer now, spending a few days a week playing and reading about the game. I branched out to The Sims 3 and The Sims Medieval (I’m terrible at that game, btw).
While I was having fun simming, my brain continued to heal. My concentration became better. My word-finding improved. My eye-hand coordination and small motor skills were back to almost what I had before. My imagination and curiosity returned. Even though it’s a simple game, it’s never the same each time I play. My brain has to work to figure things out. It has to tell my fingers how to use the mouse and keyboard. Switching between the camera controls of Sims 4 and Sims 3 was quite challenging and made my brain and body work extra hard together.
I was also diagnosed with a genetic connective tissue disorder, hEDS (https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/ehlers-danlos-info/), and I have many days where mobility is difficult. Playing The Sims keeps me focused away from my physical limitations and pain.
Several months ago (or has it been a year!), my therapist suggested I start blogging or something creative. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had begun watching simmers’ YouTube channels, reading Tumblr and WordPress blogs, finally created a Twitter account, then discovered Twitch streamers. I decided to take the plunge in December, creating this blog and my YouTube channel. The learning curve has been steep but worth it. Perhaps it’s just in my own mind, but I think that I can figure out new things more quickly because of these experiences.
I don’t know where this new venture will take me. I just know that I will continue to share my enjoyment of the Sims’ rich history for the foreseeable future. I have a connection to this game because it has helped me heal my brain and get through the tough days. For that, I’m grateful.
I have realized with the announcement of StrangerVille and the screenshots/gifs of contorting Sims that I want to be open about hEDS, disabilities, disorders, post-TBI life, and challenges living with weird symptoms/conditions. Although they doesn’t define me, they are part of who I am. The Sims, in an interesting twist, has helped me recognize this.
Thanks for reading my story. If you have any questions about Ehlers-Danlos, TBIs, hypermobility, dysautonomia, or The Sims, you can ask me on my Twitter or Tumblr.
Have a simtastic day. Dag dag!