Life is Like a Jigsaw
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Lyn Reed, MBACP (Registered), Ad.Prof Dip.PC, Dip.PC, B.A., M.A., Adv.Dip.CQSW
27th September, 2014
Unfortunately, many of us live with conditions such as depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Sometimes they come upon us like the proverbial 'ton of bricks'; other times they creep up - before we know where we are, we seem engulfed in a thick fog from which it can be very difficult to escape.
However depression manifests itself, it is a personal experience unique to each of us - which is probably why it can sometimes feel like nobody understands the way we feel. Nothing seems to make sense any more, nothing seems to 'fit'.
When we are troubled, life throws our lives up in the air like pieces of a jigsaw - landing in a way which makes no sense at all. I watched a friend do jigsaws and saw how she selected out the bits with straight edges so she could make some sense in putting the bits together in order. She said that these pieces acted as 'a guide'. Sometimes the jigsaw was left incomplete because the pieces were missing - and trying to sort out the issues in our lives can often feel like that. Some bits never quite make sense, never quite fit - no matter how much we try to make them - whilst others seemingly glide into place.
Our own lives can seem quite disjointed like pieces of jigsaw and bits of us just don't seem to fit comfortably - much as we try. Take talking. Sometimes it can be hard for us to even utter a sound, let alone speak about how we feel. We seem to have lost our voice. In public, we may come across as chatty and apparently fully engaged with the outside world; perhaps in private we are reflective. That's okay - after all, we need to recharge our batteries. However things can get a lot more out of sync when we find it hard to talk to close friends and family especially if we are expected to act strong and decisive, well able to take care of ourselves (and often others). If we can find some peace and quiet within ourselves and listen to our inner voice, we can reclaim that sense of empowerment to which we are entitled.
Sometimes we may find that we cannot speak because something or someone is holding us back. Like the loss of a missing piece of the jigsaw we just cannot seem to find the right piece (or words). Other times we may find we are stuck - unable to move backward or forward, there is no wriggle room. We search and cannot find the missing pieces, only adding to our frustrations. Suddenly it seems we do not recognise ourselves any more. Small. Silenced. Abandoned.
When these feelings are persistent and are not acknowledged, we remain incomplete and lost. Like a child. But as adults we can make our own decisions and have the right to our own opinions and beliefs. We can start to find ways of putting the pieces together again.
The good news is that though it's been difficult trying to find that missing piece (or accepting that it's gone missing for a while or sometimes for good) we know that the bigger picture is coming together - even if bits remain missing. Which is okay - making everything fit into a nice neat pattern is often a futile pastime. Life is messy. Sometimes we have to throw the pieces up in the air and start again, and that can feel good in itself. Who knows? This time the picture we piece together may make more sense.
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