Christina Bjorndal

While I was doing my undergraduate degree at UBC in the late 1980’s, I experienced a debilitating depression and anxiety. I also had an eating disorder and was not coping with the stress I was under at that time.

Like most people, I had not heard about Naturopathic medicine so I was treated with medications that were not effective. After taking the medication that was initially prescribed to alleviate depression, I swung into a psychotic manic episode and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1.

In 1994, after surviving a suicide attempt (which left me in a coma, on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant), I finally began the healing process after reading a book called “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson. Up until this point I was living with the shame and stigma of having a mental illness and I had not accepted myself.

The sole reason I became a Naturopathic Doctor was because when I was struggling with my illness there weren’t many natural experts in the field.

After attending a Mental Health Regained Public Forum in 1999, I became a patient of Dr. Abram Hoffer’s (a nutritionally oriented psychiatrist) and experienced my first depression and anxiety free year in 13 years.

I also made some major life changes, such as resigning from my corporate job, where I reported to the CEO and travelled frequently and I began the process of inquiry into what I really wanted to be doing with my life.

After sitting with the question “If money didn’t matter, what would I be doing?” the answer revealed itself to me in a tiny whisper “Become a Naturopathic Doctor and help people heal from anxiety, depression , anorexia, bulimia, bipolar disorder (types 1 or 2), addiction, ADD/ADHD, etc using natural therapies and orthomolecular medicine – as you have been helped“.

My books10 week course and in-person retreat teach you how you can regain your mental health using a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual approach to health.

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There are times in your life when you feel like you are at a crossroads. The weight of the decision that you are trying to make can be crippling. These decisions can be about:

  • your career path and what to study
  • your relationship – whether to leave or stay
  • a friendship – deciding to let it go
  • your job – do you leave it?
  • the weight of a pregnancy that is unplanned and possibly unwanted, etc.

I have been faced with all of these forks in the road in my life. What I have learned is that the best compass to use when navigating the journey of life is to learn to listen to your heart.

If you find yourself making lists, analyzing this angle vs that angle, evaluating the pros and cons, etc, then you are listening to the voice of the egoic mind whose copilots are fear, pain, suffering and protection. These decisions are really matters of the heart, therefore, we need to allow the voice of our heart to speak.

In order to listen to our hearts, we need to quieten the voice of fear coming from our mind and get still so that we can hear the whispers from our heart. This is a fundamental aspect of the work I do with my patients, and what I teach my colleagues who seek guidance from me.

A common concern is differentiating between the voice of the heart and the voice of the mind. If you aren’t used to tuning in to your gut feeling and trusting it, you might doubt its message at first.

It would be nice if we could just call 1-800-DOUBT for assistance. Since that hotline doesn’t exist, we end up calling someone who knows us for help and advice, often a parent, sibling, best friend, colleague or therapist. By talking to someone who knows us, we hope to get clear answers. The key is to learn to trust yourself for the answers versus searching outside of yourself.

When it comes to “matters of the heart,” the answer resides in you. It requires listening. Start by having a conversation with your heart around simple decisions, such as: “Tonight, would you like brown rice or quinoa for dinner?” Or, if you are paleo/keto and don’t eat grains, then ask yourself “chicken or beef tonight”? Slowly work your way up with these small decisions so that you can build your confidence when it comes to making bigger life decisions. I encourage you to check in with your heart for the small decisions you make every day, such as what to wear, which route to take when driving, what to order if you are eating out, what to watch on TV or what to cook for dinner.

I find it helpful to remind myself of this quote by Joseph Campbell: “The heart must usher the mind into the zone of revelation”. We must use our mind for to implement the “how’s” of the heart. Not the other way around. I am here to help you with the process. I have created a course that dives deeper into these teachings. I hope you will join me there. 

Dr Chris Bjorndal is a Naturopathic Doctor focusing on mental health in Edmonton, AB, Canada

https://drchristinabjorndal.com/coaching/ 

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Caregivers need care

Often, we forget to look at our own health when so concerned with the ones we care for.

I hear it time and time again – from my patients who are caregivers for aging parents or sick children.

Right after they’re finished with caring for others they say, “and then I got sick as soon as it was all over”.  Why is that? And can we do anything to prevent it? One explanation for this phenomenon relates to our adrenal glands.

Our adrenal glands are a pair of organs on top of our kidneys. They are small and mighty: they produce hormones that regulate important body functions like water balance, metabolism, blood pressure, and the body’s response to stress.

The hormone cortisol is essential to the stress response role of the adrenals. Having enough cortisol is necessary for our day-to-day functions, producing energy, and being awake during the daytime.

When the body senses stress, the adrenals release a surge of cortisol.

This surge is what causes the “fight or flight” condition we know in acute stress. It increases blood delivery to the muscles, increases your heart rate and breathing, and it slows processes that are less necessary when under acute stress, such as digestion, immunity, higher brain function, and creating sex hormones.

What’s interesting is that stress can be either physical (running from a tiger) or psychological (being fired form work), but it will produce the same effect on the body. And, in today’s modern world, we are subjected to prolonged periods of psychological stress, with all the downstream effects that that brings.

Picture this: Imagine you have a pair of soaked sponges, spilling over with excess water.

These are your healthy adrenal glands that are full with with energy-producing hormones such as cortisol. With stress, you start to squeeze the sponges little by little.

If you don’t take time to rest, nourish yourself, and refill your sponges, they will slowly start to dry out.

Eventually, you wring out the last few drops of cortisol and reach adrenal fatigue. Your body is no longer able to function properly or handle stress. This is why after someone finishes a big project, completes final exams in university, or no longer needs to care for a sick loved one they find themselves sick shortly thereafter.

When we are caring for a dying parent, we end up holding our breath, putting everything on hold, and doing all that we can in the moments in between – essentially giving all that we have – that our tanks run empty.

For a time, we run on fumes. And when that person departs this place, we can exhale. We let down our guard. We often collapse in exhaustion. And frequently, illness will set in, such as a chronic cough or constant cold that won’t go away.

 

 

Dr. Chris Bjorndal is a Naturopathic Doctor focusing on mental health in Edmonton, AB, Canada. 

www.drchristinabjorndal.com

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Profile Feed

 

There are times in your life when you feel like you are at a crossroads. The weight of the decision that you are trying to make can be crippling. These decisions can be about:

  • your career path and what to study
  • your relationship – whether to leave or stay
  • a friendship – deciding to let it go
  • your job – do you leave it?
  • the weight of a pregnancy that is unplanned and possibly unwanted, etc.

I have been faced with all of these forks in the road in my life. What I have learned is that the best compass to use when navigating the journey of life is to learn to listen to your heart.

If you find yourself making lists, analyzing this angle vs that angle, evaluating the pros and cons, etc, then you are listening to the voice of the egoic mind whose copilots are fear, pain, suffering and protection. These decisions are really matters of the heart, therefore, we need to allow the voice of our heart to speak.

In order to listen to our hearts, we need to quieten the voice of fear coming from our mind and get still so that we can hear the whispers from our heart. This is a fundamental aspect of the work I do with my patients, and what I teach my colleagues who seek guidance from me.

A common concern is differentiating between the voice of the heart and the voice of the mind. If you aren’t used to tuning in to your gut feeling and trusting it, you might doubt its message at first.

It would be nice if we could just call 1-800-DOUBT for assistance. Since that hotline doesn’t exist, we end up calling someone who knows us for help and advice, often a parent, sibling, best friend, colleague or therapist. By talking to someone who knows us, we hope to get clear answers. The key is to learn to trust yourself for the answers versus searching outside of yourself.

When it comes to “matters of the heart,” the answer resides in you. It requires listening. Start by having a conversation with your heart around simple decisions, such as: “Tonight, would you like brown rice or quinoa for dinner?” Or, if you are paleo/keto and don’t eat grains, then ask yourself “chicken or beef tonight”? Slowly work your way up with these small decisions so that you can build your confidence when it comes to making bigger life decisions. I encourage you to check in with your heart for the small decisions you make every day, such as what to wear, which route to take when driving, what to order if you are eating out, what to watch on TV or what to cook for dinner.

I find it helpful to remind myself of this quote by Joseph Campbell: “The heart must usher the mind into the zone of revelation”. We must use our mind for to implement the “how’s” of the heart. Not the other way around. I am here to help you with the process. I have created a course that dives deeper into these teachings. I hope you will join me there. 

Dr Chris Bjorndal is a Naturopathic Doctor focusing on mental health in Edmonton, AB, Canada

https://drchristinabjorndal.com/coaching/ 

  • 127

Caregivers need care

Often, we forget to look at our own health when so concerned with the ones we care for.

I hear it time and time again – from my patients who are caregivers for aging parents or sick children.

Right after they’re finished with caring for others they say, “and then I got sick as soon as it was all over”.  Why is that? And can we do anything to prevent it? One explanation for this phenomenon relates to our adrenal glands.

Our adrenal glands are a pair of organs on top of our kidneys. They are small and mighty: they produce hormones that regulate important body functions like water balance, metabolism, blood pressure, and the body’s response to stress.

The hormone cortisol is essential to the stress response role of the adrenals. Having enough cortisol is necessary for our day-to-day functions, producing energy, and being awake during the daytime.

When the body senses stress, the adrenals release a surge of cortisol.

This surge is what causes the “fight or flight” condition we know in acute stress. It increases blood delivery to the muscles, increases your heart rate and breathing, and it slows processes that are less necessary when under acute stress, such as digestion, immunity, higher brain function, and creating sex hormones.

What’s interesting is that stress can be either physical (running from a tiger) or psychological (being fired form work), but it will produce the same effect on the body. And, in today’s modern world, we are subjected to prolonged periods of psychological stress, with all the downstream effects that that brings.

Picture this: Imagine you have a pair of soaked sponges, spilling over with excess water.

These are your healthy adrenal glands that are full with with energy-producing hormones such as cortisol. With stress, you start to squeeze the sponges little by little.

If you don’t take time to rest, nourish yourself, and refill your sponges, they will slowly start to dry out.

Eventually, you wring out the last few drops of cortisol and reach adrenal fatigue. Your body is no longer able to function properly or handle stress. This is why after someone finishes a big project, completes final exams in university, or no longer needs to care for a sick loved one they find themselves sick shortly thereafter.

When we are caring for a dying parent, we end up holding our breath, putting everything on hold, and doing all that we can in the moments in between – essentially giving all that we have – that our tanks run empty.

For a time, we run on fumes. And when that person departs this place, we can exhale. We let down our guard. We often collapse in exhaustion. And frequently, illness will set in, such as a chronic cough or constant cold that won’t go away.

 

 

Dr. Chris Bjorndal is a Naturopathic Doctor focusing on mental health in Edmonton, AB, Canada. 

www.drchristinabjorndal.com

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