Viral Epigenetics in the Vernacular


The recent prompt about what we would post if we knew that our site would be featured on the front page of The New York Times cracked me up.

I remember when I was actively emailing global newspapers with the news that a person could prove God with clouds and that people ought to pay attention.

Oh, those were the days, the imagined edge of my own brave new world…


Of course, I was out of my mind then. Not so much though…I knew enough to know that I would be seen as “a crazy person,” and that whatever intern opened my messages would likely just laugh or sigh sadly, deleting the message.

It made me wonder, however, how many people send those sorts of messages – trying to say that something important seems to be happening in the world, trying to make someone listen, pay attention.

It was all a big experiment.

“What would it feel like to really say this? What would it feel like to hit ‘Send’?”

Sometimes, when I need to think about possibilities, I consider all the outcomes that I might not even know about.

There may be a young journalist out there who sees clouds in a whole new way.

Who knows?

In any event, I doubt that this site would ever be suitable for a front page feature. It’s not styled in the appropriate way. It doesn’t say the right things or have the right color scheme.

I have considered starting another site, but I probably won’t.

I’ll just keep posting whatever I want here and continue with the process of seeing what will happen next.


In the meantime, there were these seams in the Eastern sky at sunset.

 It’s been an interesting year.

 By next year, a lot more will have happened.

 Here are some things that happened this week:

*I constructed a surprise birthday party of stuffed animals

*I wrote some draft for a wellness maps resource that got called out as being presumptive and not sensitive enough to privilege.

*I received a phone call from a person who had been involuntarily committed by the state and is stuck in a town over the mountain.

*I did not know what to do.

*I made plans to start doing some radical mental health video resources with an actual videographer.

*I ordered 350.00 worth of textbooks and rescheduled a meeting.

*I got stung by another yellowjacket.

*I wrote a not-exactly-friendly letter to my penpal on Death Row because he keeps telling me that I’m “this kind of woman” or “that kind of woman” and that I have issues with men. I mostly have issue with men thinking they can tell me things about myself or decide what I need to do or how I should feel.

*I felt conflicted.


Today, I will draw pictures in an anarchist coffeeshop   and then go to purchase a monkey puppet.





Here is an informal essay on epigenetics and mental health, excerpted from an email that I wrote on my phone:

Faith’s Minimally Informed Soapbox on Epigenetics

I actually really enjoy/am fascinated by epigenetic theory – mostly because it offers a foundation for humans to consider the ways that we might evolve (change) within the span of our lifetimes, and draws attention to the fact that we are in constant states of action, reaction, and adaptation.

I think those are important ideas…ideas that I might even go so far as to call truths.

What’s interesting to me about epigenetics in regard to psychology (evolution of consciousness/mind-body medicine stuff) and psychiatry is that most epigenetic tendencies that are associated with anything considered to be a mental disorder are considered to be an “aberration”

…rather than just a difference, and the effects of these aberrations are presumed to be quite useless, problematic, and undesirable.

In some cases, they probably are…

Is a sensitivity a problem? I guess if it causes problems for an individual.

I know that if I didn’t generally value the world that my psychosis drops me into (which is not always full of fascinating and uplifting transformative experiences – or maybe it is because everything is transformative, in one direction or another – because we are always changing? – and often is quite disturbing and sometimes agonizing, but is nonetheless way more interesting and real-feeling to me than consensus consciousness) then maybe I would stop eating gluten or take whatever pill they are probably developing to change the way we (people) process modern bread goods.

It might be nice to not have to constantly deal with things like somatic and sensory disturbances, feeling watched and judged 98% of the time, catching signs and symbols everywhere and having the sense that my thoughts being manipulated by what I think of as “dark forces,” which are harnessed and controlled by a secret consortium of very-bad-men who can tell what I think and feel and are countered by the reassurances of Godforces and secret allies that are the “Real Illuminati” and who also know what I think and feel and every word I say or write (even these!) and own radio stations and communicate by subliminal telepathy and codes in popular music and media stories.

…but, I don’t think that living in that world (while simultaneously living in consensus reality) is – for me – necessarily a bad or ultra-undesirable (or ultradesirable, for that matter, since as I’ve written this I’ve thought a lot about how it might be nice to be able to just have the day be the day and not a test and to have things that mean nothing and are totally unrelated to me mean nothing and be totally unrelated to me…that might be nice sometimes.)

…but right now, I don’t think of my psychotic symptoms as things that need to be eliminated or that I would be well-served by eliminating. When I’m “psychotic,” something-like-God is real to me and I am connected to everything and that ultimately helps to keep me alive.

Those experiences are part of my personal mythology, my cosmography.

In ways, psychosis is my (sub)real life video game…that I am playing with a vast community of other people stretching across the grand span of time and space.

I’m lucky to that I am able to deal with my experiences and participate in alternate versions of reality in ways that don’t (at this point) completely wreck my ability to be in consensus reality, that they are not of a sort that I cannot deal with or that consume me.

I have friends who’ve stopped eating gluten, because that’s what works for them, in their experience.

I tend to think that most static traits in the human species – and madness is certainly a relatively stable phenomenon across time and populations – tend to exist for a reason and that maybe differences are vital to our growth, development/destruction+/- creation as a species.

So, it doesn’t make sense to me why epigenetic theories/evidence relating to mental health is so oriented toward solving the problem, when perhaps it could be better approached by identifying the reason and figuring out precisely why the trait may or may not be problematic.

Trauma is heavily linked to epigenetic changes.

In new age-y circles, so are things like consciousness.

As far as any epigenetic “evidence” pertaining to mental health, it’s all moot – precisely because we tend to change over the course of our lives and so it seems a little fallacious to assume that just because something appears at one point in someone’s life, insofar as anything related to epigenetic processes is concerned, there is nothing to guarantee that the particular function or trait is a lifetime situation or simply something that is happening at that particular moment in time, for a hundred different possible reasons.

The findings of research that shows a link between autism, schizophrenia, ADHD, major depression, and bipolar could be attributed to epigenetic changes that occur as the result of atypical antipsychotics – which are commonly prescribed to people who are diagnosed with those disorders. Instead, they think it’s an innate genetic basis…which actually isn’t entirely implausible, given the overlaps in experience/tendency among people with these diagnoses.

It seems odd to me that it wouldn’t occur to them that perhaps if what would add up to about 25% of the human population was affected by certain tendencies that maybe that means something about what it means to be human.

Instead, they just look for the mutation and search for a “cure.”


One thought on “Viral Epigenetics in the Vernacular

  1. Pingback: EVERYTHING ENDS | hastywords

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