Me, myself and I during Lockdown. An essay by Sylvia McShane

‘I’m feeling really lonely. I live on my own but this Covid 19 experience is different. It’s the emptiness in my life, I’m finding difficult’ I shared with my London friends on our WhatsApp group. Nothing. Then I am sure I heard a whooshing sound followed by the pitter patter clatter in their brains, the sound of rats leaving a sinking ship. Singularly or collectively- nothing. I waited. Silence. In its distress the fantom ship tilted to the other side. Sound was restored again. The words came in the form of solutions to fix me.

One suggested ‘ if the zoo is open, you could go there.’ That’s if the giraffes are receiving visitors. I thought. Other suggestions included ‘ a garden centre.’ Well they haven’t seen the queues at Woodys. Another one looked up the weather forecast and said ‘take your car out to countryside and have tea somewhere.’ Yes I suppose I could drive around the perimeter of Dublin on the M50, forget to pay the invisible tariff allowing the toll debt to spiral out of control after 24 hours of non payment. I would still be lonely and financially more impoverished after my spin out in the car. Alone again.

Aloneness is the gnawing sore of my spirit. The emptiness runs very deep in a cavern of nothingness and darkness. I realise I have very few people in my life who really understand. I phone people and they say ‘you’re great for keeping in touch.’ That’s okay but they never call me. I’m not on their radar. They don’t think about me the way I think about them. Sometimes they are too busy to talk. Busy with their own family stuff. It’s the lack of reciprocity I find hard. And that was before Covid 19 kicked in.
I was shocked. I didn’t want to be fixed. I was lonely – something inside me raw and broken. I was reaching out. Expressing how I felt to my friends of some forty years duration. They know me. I trusted they might listen. I’m their single friend who entertains them with the latest drama in my solitary life that they share with their husbands for amusement. It hurts that I’m not taken seriously because I don’t have a husband or children.
Meanwhile, I’m alone – having dinner with me, myself and I. Having a dinner that I mindfully went to the supermarket (now I’m allowed to) bought the ingredients, followed the recipe, and set the table. I lovingly poured a glass of wine. Sat at the table as the ‘other.’ Nobody to share a nut roast with except me, myself and I. All three of us sat entwined drinking one glass of wine. No one to pass the salt or open another bottle of wine. Meanwhile, ‘They’ look across the table at each other: comment on the latest Covid 19 numbers, easing lockdown, the food, the wine or the length of the queue at the supermarket.

I am lonely – it’s eating into me. It’s a bit like crying. People don’t know where to look or what to say. They don’t know how to react. Listen I don’t want to be fixed. ‘They’ don’t have to say anything – just be there.



Artist, writer, storyteller.


  1. Expresses so well the cry of the human heart, the need to have someone to listen.

  2. An honest description of a reality for many people.

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