I went on the Women’s March in London yesterday and felt buoyed up by the hope on display. I marched in solidarity with all those Americans who didn’t vote for Trump but mostly I marched in solidarity with women everywhere who don’t get equal pay and who get passed over for promotion. I marched for those who suffer abuse and violence and yet are taught what to do to stop that abuse when it ought to be the abusers who are taught what to do to stop that abuse. I marched for all those women who are wolf-whistled and grabbed and have their demeanour and outfits commented on by strangers. I felt undeniably sad that my whole lifetime has been a battle for women to achieve equality and that the battle started long before and will continue. But I also enjoyed the optimism and the harnessing of anger and outrage and the diversity of my 100,000 fellow marchers – men and women, old and young, British and European and beyond.
I marched quietly, on my own, as I always do through those London streets and I watched the speeches and clapped and cheered and then, when I got on the train, I suddenly lost all that hope that had built up inside and realised that I am always, always on my own. I marched alone among groups and singing and dancing friends, couples holding hands, parents with children in slings and pushchairs. I stood alone and listening to women give inspiring, witty and heartfelt speeches. I got on the train alone and then on the bus and then I sat alone in my rented room. No one would know if I walked away one day and never came back. I am always alone and always lonely and I don’t know how to change it.
Depression has made me timid when once I was brave, it has made me lethargic when once I had energy and it has made me lonely when once I had friends. And the loneliness is slowly but surely devouring me from the inside out, leaving me a shell, an empty phantom.
These days there’s no one around to even notice.