Some people’s idea of really “doing” a jigsaw puzzle is to cover up the picture of the completed puzzle on the front of the box. This adds to the challenge of figuring out which notch fits into which groove, by matching colors, patterns, and shapes. The trial and error needed to arrange the pieces without knowing what the completed picture looks like can be frustrating, but the final feeling is one of triumph.
Much the same process has been going on as you “reemerge” after spinal cord injury. So many pieces to reconnect – and the final picture an unknown. First there was the pre-disability you, then the trauma and its aftermath – hospitalization and (in most cases) rehabilitation – then your return home, perhaps to school or to work, or a new home somewhere else. You resumed the daily rhythm of your life. You began to go out with friends again. Life, with its disability blip, continued.
You are beginning to feel like yourself again. It may have taken one, two, or even five years to arrive at this point. But at last you can say, “I’m back. I’m my old self.” Or, “I’m my new self” – a surprising arrangement of your jigsaw puzzle.
As you begin to feel in control of yourself and your life again, you may be ready to chart where you are and what you’d like to do to make life more complete. Remembering the variety of experiences you have endured, survived, and mastered will give you the sense that “you can do it.” Indeed, as your ability to deal with life and its adversities deepens, you may find a wellspring of strength and confidence for the years ahead. In short, you’ve discovered that life is a journey of “uncovery” and “discovery” – of the world and its possibilities, and of yourself, your talents, and your deepest resources.