Depressed? Get a puzzle.


Well, it finally happened. I got Covid. I’ve been very careful since the holidays in particular. I haven’t been out much at all but Omicron is so contagious. You can get it at the bodega or the supermarket. You can get Covid anywhere, even if you’re taking all measures of precaution, including being fully vaxed and getting your booster.

The first two days were pretty bad honestly. I was in bed with a fever, chills, and the sweats. To put it in perspective, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and my sheets were soaked. I also had a constant headache, no appetite and I was exhausted. The next ten days I improved but the tiredness continued and was legit. I’d sit on the couch for a minute and wake up an hour and a half later. I discovered what narcolepsy is like.

I “celebrated” my 41st birthday during this quarantine period and I was gifted two cat puzzles. I can’t remember the last time I worked on a puzzle, probably when I was a kid. I never thought I’d enjoy it, but I did. In fact, I freaking love puzzles.

My first 500 piece puzzle only took me three nights to complete. There were a few scares. My cats were very interested in this new thing to sleep on. Besides napping on the puzzle, they’d sit on it when I was trying to assemble it. A few times, pieces were knocked to the ground by an excited tail wagging. I feared I’d end up with one missing piece. But that didn’t happen, phew!

One has a lot of time to think while working on a puzzle. I wondered…what are the origins of the puzzle?

The history is as follows:

The first jigsaw puzzle was created by a map engraver named John Spilsbury, in 1762. He mounted one of his master maps onto wood and then cut around the countries. He gave it to children in the local school to help them with their geography education. And in that act jigsaw puzzles were invented. It was an instant hit and the concept was soon copied by others and expanded into other educational images other than just maps, such as farms and religious scenes. At this time all jigsaw puzzles were created from wood, but also at this time they weren’t called jigsaw puzzles, they were called dissected puzzles. The term jigsaw comes from the special saw called a jigsaw that was used to cut the puzzles, but not until the saw was invented in the 1880’s*. 

I’m very much into maps and wood. Can someone make a puzzle map of the Rockaway peninsula constructed from the old boardwalk wood?!

In further reading, I learned it wasn’t until the great depression that puzzles gained mass popularity. As it was a creative distraction and cheap passtime. And so now, It makes sense that a worldwide pandemic has sparked the resurgence of jigsaw puzzles. Depressed? Get a puzzle. I can vouch for its therapeutic effectiveness.

My next puzzle is 1,000 pieces and the design is more challenging than the last. The image is of a cat surrounded by a bed of small flowers and a sea of green and blue plants. At least I have a picture to follow. Before 1930, puzzles did not have an image reference guide. If you found a completed puzzle of the same kind, it would be considered cheating to use it.

Watch my puzzle progress on Instagram – @theglorifiedtomato 



tagged in covid-19