Jigsaws and Jenga

At almost 50 years of age I am now finding the missing pieces originally hewn from my family’s history which hopefully will enable me to complete my life’s jigsaw.  Over the years I have dilligently collected the straight-line edging  along with the pieces relating to the memories I have since 1963 the year I was born. However, I always knew that there was much more than this and, whilst I may not have been around to witness those happier days, they did exist. Now, thanks to my wonderful cousins, I have the opportunity to fill in the missing gaps and complete the puzzle. At times this is surprisingly emotional and makes me realise that my views about my parentage and “family life” are very much tainted purely because I was born late on and certainly after the cracks  started to appear in my parent’s relationship. I never knew the “happy couple” as they clearly were on their wedding day.  I only remember  the arguments and turmoil that blighted my childhood and ended in a bitter divorce and me being sent away to boarding school. At the time this was a relief but over the years I realise that I would have swapped my experience at school any day for a “normal” family upbringing. This has been hard to deal with.

For me, doing a jigsaw represents my life-long quest to piece together the missing bits.

But, would you rather try and complete a jigsaw over a period of time and enjoy a pastime which can be picked up and put down at your leisure , or play Jenga. The game played “on the edge” and is a challenge of physical and mental skill. Jenga to me conjures up images of  pressure, deadlines, decisions, chance and fear of everything going wrong and falling to pieces.

I liken my depression to that of a jigsaw. I want and need to complete the picture. My dear friend however who suffers from anxiety likens his experience to the game of Jenga. Always living on the edge; believing that the tower will tumble regardless of which brick you extract and once demolished cannot be rebuilt. Despair, despondancy, distrust and disbelief prevail. Stomach churns; head spins relentlessly. There is no respite and exhaustion follows. Jenga represents all the characteristics of his anxiety and it must be draining.

Whilst there are differences between jigsaws and Jenga, there are also similarities. We are both fed up with feeling as we do. Few people truly understand and appreciate the effort needed to maintain an existence of any sort and it seems like there is no end to the struggle. But, jigsaws can be completed and Jenga can be beaten.

We just need to find the secret key.


2 thoughts on “Jigsaws and Jenga

  1. Once more you have nailed it, my friend. This post took me back to the days – the years when I ran a mental health day service in London. Jenga was a regulr activity amongst the people who ttended the service. Your analysis is right on the money (again).

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