by Marie Gasper-Hulvat, Ph.D.
My Human Design and History with Depression
My Human Design Inner Authority is defined by an Emotional Wave. Sometimes I’m high on my wave, and everything looks like an exciting opportunity. Sometimes I’m low on that wave, and then I pull inward to wait and recalibrate.
Emotional waves show up for us folks who have a defined Emotional Solar Plexus / Creative Center on our Human Design charts. These waves come in three flavors (created through one or more of the channels colored in on the bodygraph chart here):
· Individual waves, like mine, which don’t have much space in between highs and lows;
· Tribal waves, which can have some in-between emotions that are neither high nor low; and
· Collective waves, which have slow climbs punctuated by deep dives.
The stark contrast between my highs and lows on my individual wave has given me a lot of experience discerning what it feels like to be in the thick of each end of the wave. This is particularly useful because I’ve also had loads of experiences with biochemical depression over three decades.
My experiences of post-partum depression, chronic illness-related depression, seasonal affective disorder, neurological dysfunction depression, hormonal depression, pharmaceutical-induced depression, and this-is-sometimes-just-what-my-brain-does depression have been as much of a constant lesson in my lifetime’s curriculum as my emotional wave.
Depression vs. Low Emotional Wave
However, there are, in my experience, distinct differences between experiencing these phenomena. Initially, when I learned about my Emotional Wave, it was an “Ah-Hah!” moment. Wow, so that’s what’s been going on my whole life?! I have an emotional wave?
After systematically tracking my Emotional Wave for about four months now, I’ve noticed that, when I’m not experiencing biochemical depression, a low point on my emotional wave feels much different from depression.
For me, depression is rooted in my embodied physical experience. It is often triggered, like an allergic reaction or an immune system response to a virus. Just like I have become aware of the early warning signs of an allergic reaction or the onset of a head cold, I can often tell when I’m pitching headfirst into biochemical depression. This hasn’t always been the case; I don’t get a sore throat or start sneezing when depression is popping up. For most of my lifetime, I haven’t been aware of biochemical imbalances in my nervous system until I was deep in the sticky mud of depression.
When I feel biochemical depression setting in, I become aware of an abnormal desire to crawl under the covers all day, a loss of appetite, and a struggle to accomplish basic self-care. Sometimes I find it hard to have simple conversations with the people I love or keep from breaking into tears over, well, just about anything.
On the other hand, when I’m low on my emotional wave, I can be grumpy and just want to be left alone to read a book or get a project done. I often feel annoyed and dissatisfied. If I fall into the shadow side of my low, I may act disgruntled and nitpicky.
The low point on my emotional wave is in complete opposition with what depression feels like, when I don’t really care about anything. I care about A LOT of things—maybe too many—when I’m low on my wave!
Using Willpower and Informing
One of the major differences I’ve identified is that with biochemical depression, it’s absolutely necessary to use my willpower to get out of it. On the other hand, will powering through a low emotional wave is completely counterproductive.
When I’m low on my emotional wave, it’s important to sit with the low point, embrace it, and listen to what it’s here to teach me.
With biochemical depression, it’s the exact opposite. I have to consciously set my intention to pull myself out of it: to treat it and to ask for help from my family and care team. I have to use whatever modicum of willpower that I can muster to choose self-care practices that I know can help pull me out of the biochemical firestorm, even if I don’t want to use them in that moment.
When I’m low on my emotional wave, it’s important to let my family know, “Hey, I’m not feeling so hot, and you might be picking up on my foul mood.”
When I’m falling into biochemical depression, it is critical to tell my family, “I am struggling with my mental health.” With my past history, I also need to reassure them, “It’s not to the point that I’m afraid I might hurt myself.” Or, if I am veering toward that edge, seeking immediate professional help.
It’s the difference between being moody and getting sick.
Because that’s what biochemical depression is: The brain is experiencing dis-ease and dysfunction. Mental illness IS illness.
Sacral Responses and Low Emotions
I am a Manifesting Generator / Time Bender, with the gift of a defined sacral and its reliable Uh-HUH / Unh-UH sounds. Since learning about Human Design, I have come to love this machine that can give me instant answers!
When I am low on my emotional wave, my sacral response is my most trusted source of authenticity. It tells me how I know that I am truly being ME.
However, when I’m feeling stuck in the mud of depression, I have found that my sacral response can be misleading. I must be careful about the questions that I ask it. If I only ask it whether I want something, it will lead me astray. If I ask it whether something is in my best interest, I might get a more reliable response. Maybe.
Biochemical depression can confuse my sacral. On the other hand, when I’m in a low point on my emotional wave, my sacral is the magic key to finding out what I truly desire.
Empowerment through the Lows
Biochemical depression can strike at any point on my emotional wave and does affect my wave. When it hits me on a high point in my emotional wave, there can be a drastic dip for a day or more until I can get control over the biochemical disbalance. Once my brain’s biochemistry is reharmonized, I find that my emotional wave pops back up to where I would expect it to be, based on past trends.
When depression hits me on a low in my wave, though, it can be especially confusing. Then it is most important to remind myself what the differences between the two experiences feel like.
The realization of these differences has been empowering. For most of my life, I have been afraid of my emotional wave, because I didn’t understand the difference between it and biochemical imbalance. I have been petrified of the specter of depression looming over my life yet again, as I have tried to fight it off or avoid it for so many years. Not without good reason: Depression IS terrifying and extremely dangerous.
With knowledge about the differences, I can safely allow myself to sit with my moodiness of my low wave, knowing with confidence that it doesn’t mean a biochemical crash is imminent.
For my neurotransmitters, it’s the external triggers that bring on the crashes. Just like mold, pollen, and viruses trigger allergic reactions or the flu, it’s my own mental health triggers – not the wave – that affect my biochemistry. Knowing that it’s not my emotional wave that brings on the crash, I can also know that I’m safe to ride my own wave.
Flowers of a Hundred Worlds (Momoyogusa): Rising Waves (Tachinami), 1909–10. Kamisaka Sekka (Japanese, 1866–1942). The Cleveland Museum of Art, https://www.clevelandart.org/art/19184.108.40.206
Long Sampler, detail, c. 1650–70. England, 17th century. The Cleveland Museum of Art, https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1942.506
About the Author:
Marie Gasper-Hulvat, Ph.D. is a Quantum Human Design Specialist, Quantum Alignment System Practitioner, and QHD Family Coach. Certified in Mental Health First Aid and Reiki, she is training to be certified as a Peer Recovery Supporter through Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services (OMHAS).
Drawing on her experiences as an art historian and university professor, she has created a set of customized User Manuals for Human Beings.
These richly illustrated chart reports, including additional insights into emotional authority when applicable, are available through https://www.soulstarattunement.com/your-human-design.
To learn more and contact her: https://www.soulstarattunement.com/about
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The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of www.quantumhumandesign.com, www.freehumandesignchart.com, Dr. Karen Curry Parker, Quantum Alignment System, LLC, subsidiaries, or any corporate entities they represent.