The Jigsaw Puzzle

| By Paul | | Comments (11)

Puzzle and Dissociative Identity Disorder

Here are some early morning ramblings after not sleeping all night.

I was reading an interview just a little while ago, on the somewhat unrelated topic of "intelligence gathering", and this was said:

One thing I hate is this term "connect the dots." It is not connect the dots; it's putting a jigsaw puzzle together. I tell my students, suppose someone gave you a jigsaw puzzle, and some pieces are missing, some don't belong, and you don't have the box with the picture. You have to put the puzzle together, and it's not so easy.

I thought it was a rather interesting comment, because intelligence gathering and trauma healing are not so dissimilar. But I think he missed the point a bit.

I like to think of healing as having to put together a bunch of puzzle pieces (with a lot missing and without the picture). But on those puzzle pieces are the little dots, and as you put the puzzle together, patterns start to emerge and you get better and better at predicting and making decisions.

This photograph is of some work I did with my therapist last summer. I painted puzzle pieces of various sizes and arranged them in a way that made some visual sense to me. I had many color options, but I chose only red, white and black. We never quite finished, having intended to go back and rearrange and reshoot. The pieces are still sitting in my therapist's office on top of her bookshelf. Perhaps we'll take them out again soon.


Nansie said:

Such an interesting analogy Paul! I think it is right on with DID. I feel that I am still getting these pieces in order and then at times someone can come and take them back apart. When that happens, though, because of my new familiarity with those new pieces, it is easier to put them back together. But then back on the journey to finding and adding the rest. I also feel that even though some pieces get connected they are still separate from each other because of the cut. So they can still be taken apart again. Always a journey with a lot of work. I like this analogy though! Thanks!

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Nansie:

Thanks Nansie! Glad it resonated with you.

I think you are both right. This is very well communicated, Paul. Very thought-provoking. Nice job.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to marj aka thriver:

Thank you Marj! I'd write more, but my mental tank's on empty...

Interesting post. I also see healing as putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Patterns do emerge as we gather more and more pieces and fit more and more of them together. And there are levels and levels to what we do come to understand.

Paul Author Profile Page replied to April_Optimist:

April, Yes, I think of it a lot like this. But in different ways at different times. Much like metaphors. If you want to push this one, I sometimes think of the "levels" you say as maybe the puzzle becoming three dimensional, or four, or five. Or someone coming and taking away the pieces I put together already. Or... Or... Or...

castorgirl said:

When you talk about becoming better at predicting the patterns and making decisions, are you saying that we create or find more puzzle pieces as we heal? I suppose my question touches on a subject that I continually struggle with - suggestibility, validity of repressed memories etc. Because it's an issue I struggle with, I may have mis-interpreted what you are meaning...

I've often referred to my healing journey as putting together a puzzle - hence the name of my blog and the header image. Sometimes I get a glimpse of clarity - like I've discovered the key pieces of the puzzle that had dropped behind the couch cushion. But, quite often it feels like I'm constantly looking for the patterns you describe.

It's interesting that you consider the puzzle pieces to have dots on them - indicating complexity, but the puzzle pieces you painted only have the three colours - hinting at simplicity. Do you know why you chose to use those three colours when painting your pieces?

Thank you for the mention of my blog :)

Take care,

Paul Author Profile Page replied to castorgirl:

Thanks CG. I always loved the header on your blog! Yes, I think it's all of what you mention. Which makes it so hard. But, sometimes, I can look back at the journey so far and say "Good job!" Sometimes, not so much. And, yes, the questions about validity and suggestibility are all normal parts of what we deal with. And denial states are about hiding the puzzle pieces, which we do all the time. As to your question: In therapy, when I decide to to any kind of color, it's usually those three colors. They, for me, represent the very basic foundations of who I am as far as color goes. Red is anger and passion. Black is dark and bad. White is pure and good. Plus, I knew this was going to be a photograph from the beginning and wanted the image clean. I didn't have any dots on them because only when I saw this quote the other day, did I think of that. Thanks, as always, for your contributions here and on your own site.

Love your blog, Paul. Nothing insightful to add--just great job. Connecting dots assumes finite "right" spots, whereas puzzles have great freedom of form, yah? Nicely done. Thanks.

Paula said:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for that so well fitting picture. I often wrote in the past about my pieces. That my puzzle will look the same yet different as some pieces got shaped differently as to fit better.

The tools to express yourself in this activity was free to choose, so why not photo and this explanation. Works fine with me. And I simply love it.

There are many photos I see myself in too yet I feel my troubles and pain so much since I use brush and pencil. My troubles are my treasures and I learn so much. Thanks for sharing.

If it is ok with you I would link from my post to yours.

Hugs across the pond.


Paul Author Profile Page replied to Paula:

Sure Paula! I'll email you the other one.

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This page contains a single entry published on January 22, 2010 5:51 AM.

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