Mental illness may have already been a rampant social issue since I was in high school. In an environment that puts so much pressure on students to uphold the reputation of being the cream of the cream of the crop, troubled teenagers were masked under the pizzazz of high school gossip and drama. College was no different, with classmates dropping out due to nonfinancial reasons but professors too busy with their laboratory experiments for the sake of honor and excellence. Such lack of support is disheartening, but this was how mental illness was dealt with – it wasn’t.
It’s enlightening to see movements emerge to raise public awareness. I remember a talk with my mom about a cousin who told my aunt that she has depression. We have never talked about mental health before. My mom then asked me if I have ever experienced it, and the first thought that entered my mind was that one random Sunday when I had the urge to cry for at the time an unknown reason, which after much deliberation a few months after I concluded was a sudden gush of loneliness. This was not depression, but this is the closest I can get to trying to feel what clinically depressed individuals go through.
The fact of the matter is, I cannot fathom what is reality to other people. I have learned about the signs, I have studied the criteria. These are meaningless – a series of numbers, a generic language for general consumption but have no gumption whatsoever. They do not let you feel what needs to be felt, they do not pull out a sense of sympathy, let alone empathy.
The beauty of poetry, of literature, of writing, is that it makes sense even if it doesn’t. It concentrates more on creating a feeling for the reader, rather than a logical, concrete construction of a picture. It understands that in order to stick, you have to hit people in the gut. And because it moves in alternative way, it is not bound by rules. It is free to be whatever it wants, whatever the will of the author may be. It does not try to please everybody, and it does not have an obligation to do so. It is a special access to the creator’s mind granted to the many but understood only by the few – and that’s okay.
Sometimes literature is as much for the author as it is for the reader, maybe even more. This is what this project hopes to achieve – therapeutic outlet for the giver, social enlightenment for the receiver.
To the writers who will fill up this blog, the Apollo Papers, thank you for sharing. We hope that this helps you as how Apollo might.