Quote 1

“I have these thoughts that Dr. Karen Singh calls ‘intrusives,’ but the first time she said it, I heard ‘invasives,’ which I like better, because, like invasive weeds, these thoughts seem to arrive at my biosphere from some faraway land, and then they spread out of control.”

This quotation appears in Chapter 5 after Aza drops Daisy off at her apartment and serves as Aza’s attempt to understand and explain her “thought spirals” to someone who does not live with anxiety, OCD, or another mental illness. The quote illustrates how strong Aza’s mental dialogue is. While she may not be able to speak for herself verbally, she has a better understanding of herself and her illness than she realizes. The comparison of these thoughts to weeds illustrates how thoughts can arise from seemingly out of nowhere and take hold in one’s mind. However, most people can ignore weeds and not have to stop and pull them. The juxtaposition of “intrusives” and “invasives” is also important here. Aza needs a word that more easily lends itself to a metaphor, and “invasive” is just the word for something of which she has no control. For someone like Aza, the thoughts persist until they are all-consuming.

Quote 2

“I have these thoughts that Dr. Karen Singh calls ‘intrusives,’ but the first time she said it, I heard ‘invasives,’ which I like better, because, like invasive weeds, these thoughts seem to arrive at my biosphere from some faraway land, and then they spread out of control.”

This quotation appears in Chapter 5 after Aza drops Daisy off at her apartment and serves as Aza’s attempt to understand and explain her “thought spirals” to someone who does not live with anxiety, OCD, or another mental illness. The quote illustrates how strong Aza’s mental dialogue is. While she may not be able to speak for herself verbally, she has a better understanding of herself and her illness than she realizes. The comparison of these thoughts to weeds illustrates how thoughts can arise from seemingly out of nowhere and take hold in one’s mind. However, most people can ignore weeds and not have to stop and pull them. The juxtaposition of “intrusives” and “invasives” is also important here. Aza needs a word that more easily lends itself to a metaphor, and “invasive” is just the word for something of which she has no control. For someone like Aza, the thoughts persist until they are all-consuming.

Quote 3

“‘Turn it off. Nothing bad will happen. […] Now you can’t see the walls, right? Can’t see the rats. Spin around a few times and you won’t know which way is in and which way is out. This is scary. Now imagine if we couldn’t talk, if we couldn’t hear each other’s breathing. Imagine if we had no sense of touch, so even if we were standing next to each other, we’d never know it.’”

This quotation comes from Aza in Chapter 22 when she speaks with Daisy during Mychal’s underground art show. The quote reveals Aza’s reality in sharp detail. Being able to verbally express what her illness is like shows how much Aza has grown and how much she has begun to heal. In the past, Aza has struggled to find the words to describe what goes on in her mind for herself much less for other people. With such import given to the power of words throughout this novel, it comes as an incredible relief for Aza to be able to describe her anxiety in this way. For Daisy, the quote illuminates what it is like to be trapped in Aza’s mind. For once, Aza does not struggle with words and is able to heal their close friendship. Aza’s words confirm that recovery is an ongoing process to be taken day by day.