Virginia Woolf to Vanessa Bell

Did anyone ever suffer as I did? You might have seen my soul shriveling like a — I cannot remember the image exactly, but its something one does by rubbing a piece of sealing wax & then everything curls up –as if in agony. Not that there was any imagery about it in my case. But the immanent greatness of my soul formed, as it were, a cream upon the surface. I survived.
(18 June 1919, quoted in a footnote on pg. 66 of Vol 2 of Quentin Bell’s Virginia Woolf: a biography)