Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness


From a very young age we’re given puzzles to play with.  When we first start out the pieces are large and there are only a few needed to complete the puzzle.  As we get older, the puzzles become more complex.  There are lots of types of puzzles and they are for all ages.  Think of Highlights magazine for kids and the puzzle where you find the hidden objects in the picture.  As you get older perhaps you did word searches or crossword puzzles.  Obviously the hottest craze in the past few years has been Sudoku, not only as a means of entertainment, but as a way to keep the brain engaged and active.

Puzzles are intriguing and ask you to become a problem solver.  They require you to be inquisitive.  Your diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness is not just a physical challenge for you and the medical team; it’s a mind challenge.  You’re being asked, invited, or demanded to create a new mindset for how you’ll live your life.  You’re body is inviting you, on your journey to wellness, to be resourceful in how you approach living this “new normal”.  One of the things I know and have witnessed is that those who enjoy puzzles are tenacious and show perseverence…how do you stack up in this arena?

One of the things about puzzles is that as you do more and more of them you begin to see patterns.  Pattern recognition is what allows us to learn complex ideas because we build upon what we already know and add to it.  It’s about having a good foundation of the puzzle’s rules and then tweaking it with each new twist and turn.  Another quality of those who enjoy doing puzzles is that once they “master” a certain level of difficulty they begin to seek out harder puzzles.  I’m not recommending that you become sicker to up the ante of your mind challenge, but you can certainly take on more complex questions regarding your quality of life.

How are you going to make the pieces of your life puzzle fit together?  What will you do to keep yourself engaged in the puzzle and not let it defeat you?  Puzzles can be a team effort so who will you enlist to help you solve the mystery?



I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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