We are all lonely, eccentric and bizarre, writes David Smail.
"We do not need our imagination to be policed and our feelings to be regulated by moralizing professionals who are no less victims than we of the ruthless forces which too often make our lives so bitter and our hopes so blighted." He invites us to see ourselves as characters whose experience of the world, however bizarre, gives us something true to say about it. "We have nothing to thank those people for who seek in one way or another to pass judgement on the validity of our experience. Our pain is not an indication of what is the matter with us, but of something that is hurting us from outside."
"It is sometimes helpful to suggest to people that, rather than thinking of themselves as social inadequates in need of adjustment, as containers of various undesirable components, they consider themselves as they would a character in a novel: as individual, certainly, but as interesting, as signifying something about the world and as having something to say about it."