How poetry helps us understand mental illness (via PBS)

At the bottom of the sea, just off the coast of Maryland, New York City subway cars have become a new habitat for coral and fish.

Poet Shira Erlichman was spellbound when she read about the project: to dispose of old, broken-down subway cars by sinking them to the bottom of the ocean, providing a new surface for coral reef to grow.

Photos documenting the process seem to show pollution on a large scale, the result of industrial excess. But eventually they will help the ecosystem survive. For Erlichman, the project was a way to discuss taking Lithium for mental illness.

“I’ve been told a million reasons why I should not take medication. All of that stigma is very real,” she said.

People who have mental illness challenge society’s typical narrative about what is “natural” or healthy, she said.

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PBS | Shira Erlichman

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