Human Design Helped Me Notice (And Then Celebrate) The Chemical Imbalance In My Brain

mbg Contributor By Talia Pollock
mbg Contributor
Talia Pollock is the author of "Party in Your Plants." She’s also a speaker, storyteller, plant-based chef, TV personality, and health and empowerment coach.
Talia Pollock Smiling on a Beach
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I knew in my gut there was a radical gap between how I was trying to live and how I was wired to live. When that gap turned from awareness to angst to all-encompassing and crippling shame (why can't I just do this and that like them?), I knew it was time to get help. Then, I discovered human design.

I'd heard that Human Design was a road map to the most authentic you (no big deal). 

During the height of my discomfort, I became curious that human design might offer up some answers or at least a new perspective. It was described as a system of self-understanding that helped people put words to their natural gifts and energy so they could live with less resistance and more ease. 

That was a big promise, especially for a star-skeptic like me. But I knew that my life of dramatic ups and downs was blocking my ability to be consistent with anything, and I was desperate to understand why, so I decided to give it a go.

I still had my birth stats top of mind from last year's astrology reading, which wasn't my cup of lavender tea, so I plugged them into the Jovian website and downloaded my HD chart. Up came a sci-fi-looking graphic. 

Since I don't speak Stranger Things, I went into my podcast app and searched "human design." Up came a potpourri of episodes, which I added to my queue, and after a week of binge listening, I had a solid understanding of what being a "generator" meant. Must. Do. Things. When. Lit. Up. 

OK, got it, I thought. But I get lit up and dimmed down an awful lot, even about the same things. I am bursting with creativity one day and unable to formulate the words for an email the next. I can jog a 7:30-minute mile with a smile on a Monday, and then by Wednesday it feels like I'm running through organic fair-trade raw honey at a 9-something-minute pace. How does that all fit in?

When I'd exhausted the plethora of podcasts, I, of course, got serendipitously introduced personally to an HD reader in my female mastermind group. Nikki Brafman came in to give an overview of this ancient-wisdom-influenced New Age–science-infused modern-science-swayed school of understanding oneself. I loved her. 

As we took a deeper dive into my chart, she taught me that the whole purpose of human design, or any personality reading, is to integrate your new self-knowledge into your life.

"As a generator, ease comes when you wait to be lit up, before committing your energy. Make a list of what lights you up and what doesn't," Nikki suggested.

Zero things that lit me up last month or last year still sparked joy. They didn’t even glow in my dark.

In the days that followed, I took her advice and paid closer attention to when and how I felt lit up or not. I noticed more and more the extreme swings in my moods, and I just knew in my gut (where human design says I uniquely feel my truth. Of course. With IBS, my whole life has been felt through my gut. Right on, HD!), that my inconsistencies were...funky. Unhealthy. Abnormal? 

I started to notice eating, at times, not lighting me up. Or talking to people. And recording my formerly fun podcast. Promoting my newly published book. Suddenly, it was like I looked around and zero things that lit me up last month or last year still sparked joy. They didn't even glow in my dark.

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How applying my Human Design helped nudge me where I needed to go.

During a period of pitch blackness that followed, I decided, in between my daily tears, to see a psychiatrist. After two two-hour sessions, my doctor diagnosed me as bipolar 2. 

Bipolar 2 is a biochemically based medical condition that causes me to rise higher and sink lower than a normal range. It's a mental illness that affects my moods, thoughts, and behavior, making my life a constant light, dark, light, dark, light, dark—like how you flick on and off a light switch when you're making someone dizzy. Receiving this diagnosis was like turning on a light so I could see the final step of the new path that Human Design had sent me on.

"You just don't have the physiological energetic structure for consistency," I remembered Nikki saying during one of our readings. "And you've lived in a world that has required you to be consistent and has praised you every time you have been."

It turns out that bipolar runs in my family and is a highly genetic disease.

It also turns out that medication really helps to gently reduce the severity of those swings and inconsistencies.

Learning why I can't biochemically be consistent because of bipolar 2 has been the most liberation I've ever felt. 

How this experience changed my approach to wellness.

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When I shared my diagnosis with my dearest friend Katie Horwitch, a self-talk expert, she replied with the quickest and coziest "I know." 

I asked how she knew, and she described some of my behavior, as if she'd been watching me like a song for the many years of our friendship, observing my crescendos and decrescendos but not asking to change the tune. 

She then asked me how I feel, and I told her my greatest fear: Since the No. 1 thing people compliment me for is my energy, I'm scared my energy is going to change as I start taking the medicine that helps balance the chemicals in my brain.

She said, "Your energy everyone loves isn't just you being hyper. That's the pragmatic definition of energy. We love what you emit. Your aura."

Your aura. 

The cornerstone of the human design system is called your aura. Your aura's said to be how you were designed to meet life—your unique "song" to which you dance through the world.

Human design taught me more about my authentic truth, my song, than the many dozens of self-help books I've underlined even many more dozens of times. And what it instilled in me is a belief that fulfillment and wellness isn't so much about self-help as it is about self-loyalty. The best help you can give yourself is to use self-love to reach self-loyalty through self-acceptance. (Or something like that.)

HD taught me to embrace my lack of consistent energy for consistency. To no longer expect to feel the same today as I did yesterday. And to love and nurture that part of myself; on high days to funnel all that energy productivity and on low days to cuddle up with my dog midday—without an ounce of shame.

I now know that self-loyalty isn't about fixing yourself. Instead, especially during this time of so much outer turmoil, it's about getting shhh! super quiet and looking within to align our outer selves with our internal wiring. It's about living our aura—while honoring our brain chemistry.

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