Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl Character Analysis

Nadia is a psychologist whom Zara sees. As a teenager, she also tried to die by suicide by jumping off the same bridge as the man—but Jack pulled her off the edge. This experience galvanizes Nadia’s desire to study mental health, specifically the difference between people who do decide to take their own lives and those who don’t. And normally, Nadia finds that her own struggles with mental health and suicidal ideation help her to serve patients working through the same feelings she once did. Nadia is calm, compassionate, and often utterly bewildered by Zara. However, the two ultimately form a trusting—if sometimes awkward and adversarial—relationship over the course of Zara’s counseling sessions. At the end of the novel, several months after the hostage drama, Zara finally reveals that she witnessed Jack pull Nadia off the ledge and helps Jack and Nadia to reconnect. It’s implied that the two begin a romantic relationship after this.

Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl Quotes in Anxious People

The Anxious People quotes below are all either spoken by Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl or refer to Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
).
Chapter 5 Quotes

So you would have tried to talk to him, gain his trust, persuade him not to do it. Because you’ve probably been depressed yourself, you’ve had days when you’ve been in terrible pain in places that don’t show up in X-rays, when you can’t find the words to explain it even to the people who love you. Deep down, […] a lot of us know that the difference between us and that man on the bridge is smaller than we might wish. Most adults have had a number of really bad moments, and of course not even fairly happy people manage to be happy the whole darn time. So you would have tried to save him. Because it’s possible to end your life by mistake, but you have to choose to jump.

Related Symbols: The Bridge
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

In the meantime Zara was standing in the elevator. Halfway down she pressed the emergency stop button so she could cry in peace. The letter in her handbag was still unopened, Zara had never dared read it, because she knew the psychologist was right. Zara was one of the people who deep down wouldn’t be able to live with knowing that about herself.

Related Symbols: The Bridge, Zara’s Letter
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

“Stockholm” is, after all, an expression more than it is a place, both for men like Roger and for most of the rest of us, just a symbolic word to denote all the irritating people who get in the way of our happiness. People who think they’re better than us. Bankers who say no when we apply for a loan, psychologists who ask questions when we only want sleeping pills, old men who steal the apartments we want to renovate, rabbits who steal our wives. Everyone who doesn’t see us, doesn’t understand us, doesn’t care about us.

Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 62 Quotes

“I just said Knut was parking the car because I get lonely sometimes. And it feels better to pretend that he’s on his way. Especially at this time of year, he always used to like New Year, we used to stand at the kitchen window watching the fireworks. Well…we used to stand on the balcony for years…but I couldn’t bring myself to go out there after something that happened down on the bridge ten years ago. It’s a long story.”

Related Symbols: The Bridge
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 69 Quotes

“But you know what, Zara? I’ve learned that it helps to talk about it. Unfortunately I think most people would still get more sympathy from their colleagues and bosses at work if they show up looking rough one morning and say ‘I’m hungover’ than if they say ‘I’m suffering from anxiety.’ But I think we pass people in the street every day who feel the same as you and I, many of them just don’t know what it is. Men and women going around for months having trouble breathing and seeing doctor after doctor because they think there’s something wrong with their lungs. All because it’s so damn difficult to admit that something else is…broken. That it’s an ache in our soul, invisible lead weights in our blood, an indescribable pressure in our chest.”

Related Characters: Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl (speaker), Zara/The Woman
Related Symbols: Zara’s Letter
Page Number: 319-320
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Anxious People LitChart as a printable PDF.
Anxious People PDF

Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl Character Timeline in Anxious People

The timeline below shows where the character Nadia/The Psychologist/The Girl appears in Anxious People. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 12
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...the bridge didn’t make the boy want to be a policeman. It was the teenage girl who stood on the bridge a week after the man—“the one who didn’t jump.” (full context)
Chapter 24
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Readers must understand that Zara recently began seeing a psychologist, as Zara has the kind of career where eventually you need someone to tell you... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
During the second session, Zara asks how the psychologist would describe panic attacks. When the psychologist uses computer terms to describe them, Zara insists... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
The psychologist quickly realizes that Zara is suffering from loneliness. But she starts asking questions about, for... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
During their fourth session, Zara stares at the painting on the psychologist’s wall of a woman staring out to sea. They discuss what the woman is thinking... (full context)
Chapter 26
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Returning to Zara’s past counseling appointments, when Zara and her psychologist meet next, Zara reveals that she has found a hobby: attending “viewings of middle-class apartments.”... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
The psychologist asks Zara what she does with her money. Zara says she buys “distance from other... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Before she goes, Zara asks if the psychologist thinks there are bad people, and if bad people know they’re bad. The psychologist says... (full context)
Chapter 27
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...woman at the bank and then jumped off a bridge. A week later, a teenage girl, Nadia, stands on the bridge. There’s nothing obviously wrong with her; she’s just sad all... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack and Nadia never see each other again after that; Nadia isn’t even sure Jack exists. The experience... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Zara found Nadia’s wallet and has been secretly following Nadia since. She’s been watching the bridge, from apartment... (full context)
Chapter 47
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...seeing the robber alone with the pistol reminds Zara of a counseling session where the psychologist said that people tend to try to cure chaos with chaos: they keep going in... (full context)
Chapter 51
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
When Zara sees the psychologist for the last time before the hostage drama, she arrives uncharacteristically early. She accuses Nadia... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Nadia says she trusts Zara and believes that Zara is afraid of hurting people. She thinks... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Zara can barely breathe when Nadia asks if Zara feels guiltier about the people she’s lent too much money to or... (full context)
Chapter 69
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
It’s snowing outside, and Nadia is on the phone with her dad. When Nadia hangs up, Zara knocks at the... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Zara says that in an earlier session, Nadia asked her why she likes her job. Zara has had time to think, and she... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Zara falls silent. Eventually, Nadia says that Zara once asked her to describe panic attacks, and she doesn’t think her... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...she finally begins crying out of terror. Hesitantly, she lets go of the letter, and Nadia picks it up. Zara can’t say that she came here the first time exactly 10... (full context)
Chapter 73
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...been 10 years since a man jumped and a young woman didn’t. As soon as Nadia opens the door, Jack recognizes her and “his heart turns to confetti.” Leaning against the... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Nadia loses her balance and Jack catches her. She asks if he’s the one who saved... (full context)