Silent Marchers is a series of stories from real women (and men) who wanted to march in the Women’s March on Washington and various sister marches across the nation, but could not be there for a variety of reasons. These are their stories of why they weren’t there, why they wish they could have been, and why they support this cause and all that it stands for. Their hope is that you might find yourself in one of their stories, and know you’re not alone. Together, we will resist.
My name is “Amy.” But not really.
I wanted to march in the Women’s March. I was all set to travel to Washington D.C. to march with like-minded men and women for a cause I believed in.
But I didn’t quite make it.
I suffer from anxiety/panic attacks. As much as I wanted to be there, the thoughts of being in the massive crowd with no escape was petrifying. I knew there would be no easy way to find friends there due to the crowds, friends who would make me feel safe, so my anxiety won.
It keeps me from living my life and can be so debilitating that some days I don’t leave my room at all. I had even mentioned several times to my housemate that I didn’t want to go alone, and feel a bit betrayed as she swore she wasn’t going to any marches and went to one any way.
Petty, maybe, but I don’t trust her now.
For those of us with anxiety and depression there is so much stigma and guilt we bear that when our fellow female friends dismiss it, it’s even more devastating.
Here’s why I wish I could have been there.
I am a firm believer in equality for all. We have had the Equal Rights Act on the table for what, 90 some years, and it still isn’t ratified?? I am worried to death about insurance issues if the Affordable Care Act is repealed fully. My parents and most of my family will be affected. I worry about fellow veterans who are tossed aside after money-making wars. Our environment is in extreme danger and we do not have a back-up planet to go to!
Here’s what I’d like to say to anyone out there who may have found yourself in my position.
If you suffer like I do from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues that kept you from marching, DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER IT! Sign petitions, call your representatives, offer to volunteer at local political offices where the crowds are manageable. We can still fight the good fight, it just might not be on the mainlines. I am struggling with guilt over not going but I’m trying to do my part in the ways that won’t make me panic. It’s been a rough few months since Nov. 8. But I’m still here. I’m still fighting.
In my own way.
My name is “Amy.” (But not really.) And this was my Silent Marchers story.
“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.”
– Bayard Rustin