A couple of years ago, a friend of mine, a writer, had a first book coming out. She needed to have an author photo taken. So she spent an hour being photographed on a beach, because it is a universal law that all authors look good on the beach.

In the photos, my friend looked beautiful. More importantly, she looked like herself: thoughtful, self-possessed, smart. But she could not see these things. She could not see anything she liked. "Oh my God," she said. "I can't handle this." Nothing I said helped. At the centre of someone else's gaze, with