#43 Talking with Dr. Christina Bjorndal, ND, mental health authority
With my book, "Transforming Trauma, a drugless and creative path to healing PTS" coming closely on the heels of "Surviving a Viral Pandemic through the lens of a naturopathic medical doctor" I invited Dr. Christina Bjorndal to share her knowledge and wisdom on mental health. A licensed naturopathic doctor and established keynote speaker on how to regain your mental health using a naturopathic approach, Dr. Chris, co-founder of Natural Terrain, a naturopathic clinic in Edmonton, she is an authority in the treatment of mental imbalances such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. She is regularly interviewed for print magazines and online resources as a leader in her field. She is the mother of a 12 year old boy who reacted badly to a vaccine and thankfully recovered due to the efforts of Dr. Chris and her naturopathic and First Nation husband, Michael Mason-Wood. She has written four books to help others achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. This is her story (abridged from her website, naturalterrain.com):"While I was doing my undergraduate degree at UBC in the late 1980s, I experienced debilitating depression and anxiety that was difficult to treat. I also had an eating disorder and was not coping with the stress I was under. Like most people, I had not heard about naturopathic medicine or orthomolecular medicine, so I was treated with conventional medications that were ineffective."Six months after starting an antidepressant, I spun into a psychotic, manic episode. It took six people to wrestle me into a straight jacket. I was injected with haloperidol and left in a rubber room to come back to reality. When I did, I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder type 1. Since that time, I have lived in shame because of the label of bipolar disorder. I just wanted to be 'normal.'"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 that point, I’d been living with the shame and stigma of the labels I had been given, and I had not accepted myself. Since reading that book and with the help of many types of practitioners, I have come to realize that there are 10 steps to mental wellness and there are more natural ways to treat mental “dis-ease” as I outline in my book “Beyond the Label: 10 Steps to Improve your Mental Health with Naturopathic Medicine.”"The sole reason I became a naturopathic doctor is because, when I was struggling with my illness, there weren’t many experts in this field. After attending the Orthomolecular Medicine Society’s Mental Health Regained Public Forum in 1999, I became a patient of Dr. Abram Hoffer’s and experienced my first depression-free year in 13 years. I also made some major life changes, such as resigning from my job as Head of Marketing in a global investment management firm after sitting repeatedly with the question “If money didn’t matter, what would I be doing?” The answer consistently revealed itself to me over and over again: Become a naturopathic doctor and help people using natural therapies and orthomolecular medicine."Her other books include Moving Beyond: A Journal Into Self-Discovery and The Essential Diet: Eating for Mental Health. She concludes with "Have faith that you can get well. I believe you can, and I wish you all the joy there is to be found on the healing journey. Let love for yourself always be your guide."Darn good advice.