As part of Kotha’s campaign, ‘Mental Health x Covid-19: archiving our emotions’, we wanted to share 15 stories from a gender diverse group of Bangladeshis ranging from middle school students to young professionals. Our goal was to document the lived realities of our communities as we live through a pandemic. These powerful, honest and vulnerable stories will add to our mental health vocabulary and we hope it will make communicating our struggles just a little bit easier.
15 people describe their good days vs bad days
1. University Freshman
(20), Cis Female, She/her
Idon’t personally mind being at home too much on my own for long stretches of time. Good days involve food and art, Netflix with family, staying on top of classes, working out, moner kotha with siblings I haven’t been around in awhile.
Bad days are more of a quiet frustration than an outburst. I’ll have no reason to wake up in the morning. That feeling is hard to shake, and persists for hours. Especially bad days are when I catch up on the news. Knowing that foreign brands are behind on paying Bangladeshi factories, hearing the shobjiwala on the street begging for someone to buy a kilo of tomatoes for 10 taka before they rot, knowing this isn’t ending anytime soon, that’s the worst kind of hopelessness.
2. 10th Grade Student
(17), Male, He/him
Well, a good day for this quarantine would be a completely uneventful one. At the very beginning, we had some quality family times — playing games and watching movies. The atmosphere of the house was light and cheerful and basically, everyone was happy, as a family.
As for a bad day, it’ll surely be full of endless quarrels and fights amongst my parents. Their teases and taunts towards me for things I don’t even have the slightest connection to, throwing insults at each other, having to follow things which are directly against everything I stand for, you get the point. Moreover, a sudden sense of depression strikes me most of these times — making me lose concentration from all that’s going around me.
3. 6th Grade Student
14, Female, She/her
Agood day involves getting out of bed fairly early (around 1 pm, considering the fact that I have a terrible sleep schedule) — hopping on my computer and trying to start learning or practicing something where I left off with it, maybe playing a few games later on in the day with my friends, occasionally walking around the house to make sure I don’t completely decimate my feet and back.
A bad day means staying in bed the entire day, only getting up to eat and to take care of my personal hygiene, doing the bare minimum. Overthinking, a lot of it. Wondering how I’ll get back to normal after such a long period of isolation, away from everyone, while doing nothing to preserve my social skills. Thinking about why I’m not utilizing all this free time to make an impact or change how I look, learn new things, etc. Making self-deprecating remarks about myself, staring at the mirror for too long or avoiding any sort of reflective surface lying around the house. Letting all my irrational anger out on my little brother.
4. Actor & English teacher
(34), Male, He/him
Good day is when I wake up around 6–7 am. I meditate, make some breakfast, say good morning to my parents and my cat, play video games or watch a movie or read a book. Call a close friend or loved one, have lunch, exercise, meditate again, play a board game with a family member or online with a friend. I try to learn something through online classes. I journal about what I’m grateful for and how I can be good to myself tomorrow. Sleep.
Bad days have yet to happen since the lockdown began. I wake up around 10 am. Check social media, news, emails. Worry about going back to a job that’s not meaningful enough to me and get depressed or anxious about it. Spend the rest of the day playing video games and sporadically eating. Don’t talk to anyone. Experience back or neck pain and get angry very quickly and easily. Sleep late.
5. BSS Final Year Student
(23), Female, She/her
Agood day in lockdown is a day I’ve accomplished a small goal I set for myself. But there are days when I don’t feel better even after completing a task. On a good day, I wake up feeling normal, not depressed. I don’t spend the whole day in bed and I get out of my room. Maybe go stand on the balcony for a while. I live with my parents, which is a toxic arrangement for me, so a good day includes minimal interaction with them.
A bad day on the other hand, more often than not includes fights with my parents over trivial things, which leads to me feeling suffocated and overwhelmed. Since I have all the time in the world, I overthink and overanalyze everything that’s been going on in my life. I spend the day watching Netflix for distraction, mindlessly scroll through Facebook and Instagram and go to sleep with a heavy heart and a feeling of failure due to the unproductivity.
6. Policy Researcher
It’s easy to describe because I’ve been having a good run lately with my bad days. I know I’m about to enter a bad day when it’s difficult to get up in the morning. Not because I went to sleep late and did not get enough sleep, but because I do not want to be up. And really simple things like brushing my teeth take so much will power. It’s something I have to add to my checklist, actively decide when I will do it, push myself and then get it done. If I try to think about the day ahead, it’s really cloudy and hazy and unclear and directionless. This makes me feel really unsettled. It feels like my mind is simultaneously racing but also numb, I feel like I am stuck but also sort of drifting and floating — both feel like I do not have control over my life.
Good days also have a fair bit of self deprecation and negativity towards myself, my work, my experiences. However, bad days lead to sustained spirals that are difficult to come out of. Everything feels heavy. I know I distinctly feel like my body is heavier and I can’t move it as easily, my mind also feels heavy. As a result, naturally, I am not productive. However, I don’t think it’s the lack of productivity that makes me feel low, but rather a greater sense of purposelessness. It becomes very difficult to feel like I am of any use. I count the hours down till the day will be over so I can be done with another bad day and move closer to the next good day. They always come.
Good days are sort of what I described above. Time does not feel slow or fast. The day is not a blur and I can take it hour by hour. I am able to engage with everything — people, friends, family, work, online content, shows, movies, articles.
7. 12th Grade Student
(19), Male, He/him
Most days honestly blend together, but I don’t really mind that. I’m content with having a repetitive lifestyle and it’s the tiny things that affect my mood ultimately. Be it watering my plants, playing my favourite RPG game, or learning how to play the piano. Bad days do still happen, and it’s the ones in which I can truly feel the confinement of my house.
8. INGO Worker
(24), Female, She/her
Icannot recall what a good day looks like. For a year I have been feeling down and pushing myself to get things done. I am just surviving with the motto of ‘One day at a time.’ And when I can still function with all those dark thoughts in my head, I call it a good day.
But I can tell what a bad day looks like. On a bad day, I find myself having constant breakdowns. I don’t cry. This is a lost skill of mine. By breakdown I mean, my body gives up. I can’t function. Not at all. My thoughts take total control over me and my restlessness reaches a new level. I don’t feel like working, not even watching my favourite show or talking to my best friend. My thoughts are the demons I don’t want to face and on a bad day, they don’t leave me alone.
9. Recent Graduate, Currently working as a research assistant in the political department
(24), Genderqueer, They/them
Abad day is when I don’t feel like waking up at all. I usually just lie down, feeling numb due to thinking of all the things I did not do, am not doing, and will probably will fail to do in the future. I think about how I am losing time to plot on how to not end up in a heterosexual arranged marriage. I feel like throwing up when I think about it, to live a life for others and for how long? I feel scared, alone and helpless because all those things you don’t believe in but your family does, gets to you when you are constantly surrounded by them. They are my ‘safe pillars’ now, so even thinking about a future that defies them, conflicts one’s mind to a point where you disregard your true self and I have no idea how to stop being that destructive to myself.
I don’t know how to reach out to my friends when I am at these phases; self-consciousness, petty thoughts, irrational insecurities are few of the common factors which usually creates this divided barrier. These feelings and circle of thoughts sometimes goes on for a whole day, maybe 2, in a wave pattern.
A good day is when I do the things that got piled up when I was having panic and anxiety attacks. I brush my hair, tag people on Facebook, reply to their chats, write my work emails despite being scared about the uncertainty. Dance to classical music while showering. Feel hopeful about figuring something out with my sexuality because I am aware of my rights and I am not that bad with strategies. I feel normal when it’s a good day, I don’t necessarily obsess over being productive or doing something eventful, because just the mere fact that the pressing anxiety is not dominating me is refreshing enough to feel grateful for the small things. So, I just enjoy it while I can, it’s like having a cup of limited flavored tea in a hotel room.
10. 11th Grade Student
(18), Female, She/her
For me, a good day is me not lying around just being on my phone, but spending my evening painting, or baking, or reading a book or listening to music and dancing around my house, then at night cuddling with my mom and binge watching kdramas (Korean dramas) or have a family movie night.
(24), Female, She/her
Agood day is when I wake up from my sleep without a racing heart or sweat covered body and the day is filled with cleaning the house, sitting around with family and talking, taking great care of my skin and hair and doing my own meal prep because I am trying to eat healthy. A good day also has me working out and not listening to trashy music that I just need to block out the thoughts. I have always been an avid reader but during bad days I can’t even look at a book let alone read a page of it. Bad days are those where I ask myself why do I need to leave my bed or the confines of my room. I am one of those people who is always prompt with her replies but these days I try to not engage as much as possible. I don’t engage in conversations where the people would require meaningful replies, I only reply to friends or people who are close to me because I know they wouldn’t be offended with my shallow and curt answers. I was never this person.
12. Working at a Marketing and Advertising agency
Agood day is a day when I enjoy cleaning the whole house and listen to music and do a little boogy and do some office work, flirt with my boyfriend more than usual. The day goes by and I feel like oh good. It’s not a bad day then.
On a bad day I go from one room to the other and get in bed. I particularly don’t feel like talking much and can become irritable. I try to tone it down as much as possible but it just spills out. Sometimes I cry. I also at times huff and puff and walk around the house trying to blame someone for this mess and I think fuck me (pardon my french) it’s a bad day.
In retrospect most of my days are good because I don’t feel like doing drugs anymore. That also doesn’t mean my bad days aren’t bad.
13. 10th Grade Student
(18), Female, She/her
My father raised us differently than most kids. We had set routines and access to computers and the internet before most kids. As a result of his unique and unorthodox parenting skills, my father naturally had high expectations of us. However, unfortunately for him we turned out to be normal kids. We are not extraordinary in anything. The only thing me and my siblings excel at is sports.
My father is a patient man and rarely loses his cool. But during this lockdown his patience is put to the test and he is quickly annoyed if anyone is sleeping in or going to bed late. He gets especially annoyed when he sees us not following a routine. He has talked to us many times during the lockdown about how much he expected from us and how he “failed”. It hurts to hear that. It’s like the more he stays with us at home and gets to really know us, he gets more disappointed with himself and us.
A bad day in my house is when my father gets upset. When he is annoyed with us. It’s amazing how if my father is in a bad mood the entire atmosphere of the house changes.
Thankfully there have been more good days than bad the last week. A good day in my house for me would be when I wake up early, get some chores and studying done and can relax for a few hours with a book before everyone wakes up. My brothers are not in the mood to be obnoxious and mean and I can hangout with them and have a good time. My mother leaves me alone and doesn’t complain about me not doing any housework. Later in the evening, we can sit together and watch some movies as a family and just enjoy each other’s company.
14. 12th Grade Student
(20), Female, She/her
During lockdown I tend to have 1 good day followed by 3 bad days. It’s a vicious cycle. During a good day, I feel content with the activities I have done throughout the day. On bad days, however, I have very low self esteem so I tend to self deprecate a lot and undermine my abilities, achievements etc. I often see my contemporaries’ accomplishments and start to feel mediocre in comparison. In fact, my inferiority complex has become worse during quarantine because now I have a lot of free time to over-think. Previously I had A levels to distract me but since that has been cancelled, I now find myself questioning a lot of life decisions (especially about university applications) and regretting it and consequently hating myself.
15. 8th Grade Student
(13), Female, She/her
The good thing is I am having a stress free life, no homework, no school. On the other hand, on bad days I feel like I am becoming a little bit lazy these days.