'There was once a man who lost his shadow. I forget what happened to him, but it was dreadful. As for me, I've lost my own image. I did not look at it often; but it was there, in the background. A straightforward, genuine, 'authentic' woman, without mean-mindedness, uncompromising, but at the same time, understanding, indulgent, sensitive, deeply feeling, intensely aware of things and of people... It is dark: I cannot see myself anymore. And what do the others see? Maybe something hideous.'
- Simone de Beauvoir, 'The Woman Destroyed'
This woman is describing a loss of her very own sense of self.
I think perhaps many of us can relate to these words in different levels and depths. Different contexts and meanings, but very powerfully.