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006 Interview with Danielle {Transcript}

About This Transcript

Daelynn Romo is the wife and mother of three, an active church member and a friend of IBCD.  She is also the face of Danielle, a counselee in one of IBCD’s Observation Videos.  At the urging of her husband, Danielle comes to seek counsel from her pastor’s wife after an old struggle with an eating disorder re-emerges.  We asked Daelynn to talk with us about her experience and to share her own story.  This is part one of a two-part interview with Daelynn.

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Craig Marshall:
Hello, and welcome to the IBCD Care and Discipleship Podcast. On this week’s episode Christina Henson, ACBC certified counselor and content developer for IBCD, interviews Daelynn Romo, who many of you know as Danielle, for a behind the scenes look at the IBCD observation videos.

Christina Henson:
I’m talking today with Daelynn Romo, she is a friend of IBCD, a wife, and mother of three soon to be four. Congratulations Daelynn.

Daelynn Romo:
Thank you.

Christina Henson:
She is an active church member and she is also known probably best to many of our listeners as Danielle, the woman in one of our observation videos who comes for council when an old struggle with an eating disorder reemerge. Danielle, I will probably call you Danielle. Daelynn, thank you for coming today to talk to us about this. One of the reasons we asked you to come speak with us, we’ve shot several different observation videos but we found that people, as they watch them, just really find the person of Danielle very compelling. They get drawn in and want to know more about her. We wanted to ask you just about this whole process from start to finish really. Let’s just start with how did you playing the character of Danielle first come about? Did Craig come up with this? What were the talks behind what happened there?

Daelynn Romo:
Well, I had been friend with Jim and Caroline, and so they knew of my eating disorder back in high school. I think that’s where the idea of it maybe came from. The specific story line was something that Craig and I talked about along with Caroline trying to think how we can make it realistic, but more honed in for a specific counseling session that might be coming in for. We were able to add things into it that didn’t necessarily happen per say, and we were able to take things out just dependent upon how the conversation was going between Caroline and I during the session. A lot of it was taken from personal experience. I think that’s where maybe the emotional side of it draws people in more is I had read lots of my journals from that time in high school before I did the interview, or before I did the counseling session for the videos. Those were humbling to read, but it made it so it was very fresh on my mind when we were doing the videos.

Christina Henson:
You’re saying Jim and Caroline had an idea of this, is probably why they picked you? Then was it Craig that came and first talked to you about it?

Daelynn Romo:
Yeah. I don’t remember if it was Caroline or it was Craig. I think when I talked to Caroline and Jim about it wasn’t something that I necessarily needed to keep hidden or secret from anybody at that point. It’s been a struggle that I’ve been free from for many years now, and it’s been something that’s shaped quite a bit of my thinking and my parenting and I think I’ve been vocal about it with many people. I don’t think it was anything that they felt like would be unusual for me to talk about in a natural sense anyway.

Christina Henson:
I was wondering what went through your mind when they first asked you to do this. How did you feel when they asked you to do this?

Daelynn Romo:
I was okay with it. I wasn’t quite sure it was going to be helpful by any means. I was all right with it. I kind of go with Craig. I trust him. If he thinks it’s a good idea I’m willing to trust that lead and they can edit it all out if it happened to be not so great.

Christina Henson:
I’m assuming that they asked you to do this and told you that they thought that sharing your story as Danielle would be helpful to people. As you were able to do that I know you’ve gotten some feedback. Do you feel like what you’re able to give will be able or has been able to help people?

Daelynn Romo:
I hope so. I do think it’s helpful to listen and see that you’re not the only one struggling or that you’re not the only one that’s doubtful. I think that’s where the observation videos can really hit, is you’re watching other people hopefully being as real as possible in acting out that situation of when you’re in an actual counseling session that people feel like they can be honest and really bear their souls so that help from the word can really be given and taken heed of if the [inaudible 00:05:21] open their eyes. I was talking to Craig earlier and it really is, it’s the word. You go into counseling situations and even the struggle with my eating disorder, it all stems from just selfishness. It stems from being prideful, and it stems from deciding that you’ve got a better way to live than what the lord has planned for us, and it comes from a place of not being in the word.

I do think that when you can see the word actually changing people’s hearts and softening it, which even I went back and watched some of the videos and even just watching my reaction when Caroline would ask me to read scripture I could tell that that had really softened my heart even in that moment when I’m trying to act hard and I’m trying to act that I don’t want anything to do with what’s going on, I don’t think I need counseling. When you read the word and it really resonates with you realize this is exactly what I need. I think that was the hard part in it is still trying to play the part when in my head I’m thinking, “This is so good.”

Christina Henson:
That was something you’ve gone through to get to that place, if I’m understanding you correctly there?

Daelynn Romo:
I did counseling earlier, so those weren’t fake emotions necessarily, those were real emotions that I had in the past about counseling and thinking that I didn’t need it and not wanting anything to do with the word. Those were big pieces of the original problem.

Christina Henson:
I was going to ask you what factors went into how you decided to present as Danielle. You mentioned that some of this was personal experience, some of it was you reading your old journals, some of it was discussion with Craig and Caroline. One thing people ask us a lot about these videos is are they real? Are they authentic is what they want to know. Have you watched yourself? Have you watched all the videos since you filmed them?

Daelynn Romo:
Yeah, I have.

Christina Henson:
Having been someone who’s gone through the struggle in real time, real life, and then now as you watch yourself on the videos do you feel like you and Caroline, do you feel like it is an authentic representation of that process?

Daelynn Romo:
Yeah. Especially in cutting it down into three different sessions and trying to work with the time lapse in between them and still tie in the first session to the second session. I do think it’s a pretty good picture of what it could look like. The timing, it depends on the willingness of the counselee on how willing they would be to do the homework that was assigned and how the lord changes the heart ultimately. I do think it was pretty true to form in terms of the motions that are felt. When somebody feels like they really can be honest in front of someone and bear their soul and say things that they don’t want to say to anybody else because they’re embarrassed about them or they think are wrong I think you can really get down to the heart of the issue. I think Carolyn just portrays a person that’s very safe to be with. I would imagine that in one of the end of the sessions she says that she just prays for a connection, especially with the younger counselees that only the lord can really draw a connection between her and the counselee if the counselee is going to feel safe enough to really be open with them. I think that was real in the videos that Danielle felt safe with Caroline. That she could be honest with her.

Christina Henson:
You start out at the beginning not wanting to be there. Watching it it’s almost uncomfortable watching you give that attitude to your councilor. Were you ever surprised by what you said or how you came off to her.

Daelynn Romo:
No. Watching it I almost feel like realistically that would have played out longer if we had had lots of sessions to go through. Me personally going through my eating disorder and people encouraging me to go to counseling that I didn’t want I was not kind for many sessions. It’s a pride issue and it’s an embarrassment issue about not wanting to admit that I have an issue that I cannot fix on my own. You want to go in and say, “I can fix everything on my own and that I’m choosing willingly to do these things and they’re not really as bad as what everyone around me is saying that they are.” Yeah, realistically if it could have been longer I would have been worse longer. Transitioning into bearing worse and then slightly softening at the end to move onto the next session, that was a little bit of an adjustment from a normal setting. It played out all right.

Christina Henson:
What was it in your life that finally won you over? In the videos we see it’s Caroline’s love of Danielle. You said it’s her being a safe place, and then also the word working. Would you speak to what brought the change for you?

Daelynn Romo:
I do think it was I got pregnant with my first daughter and I think that was a huge piece in the puzzle of realizing that my body is not my own and that what I am doing is not only selfish because of my parents who love me and are concerned about me and I had just gotten married. It was my husband who was concerned about me, but now I was sustaining a little life inside of me. I think the lord used that as the pushing over piece. Just I had to stop. By his grace I did. It didn’t mean that the thoughts went away right away, and it didn’t mean that the thinking changed right away. As the word says, that he will change the way that you think and that what Caroline said even in the counseling videos, that it is. It’s just it’s a way of thinking. You have to change the way that you think. I know that lots of people were praying for me and being honest about it with more people and really being honest about it. Letting them see that I’ve lied in the past about it. When I lie now in the future it really is not doing me any good because they’re assuming that I’m lying anyway, so might as well be honest with them and really get over it.

Christina Henson:
Now that you have put this out there for people to see both as a character and then as yourself, do you have any regrets?

Daelynn Romo:
No. The lord will use what he wants to use, and he works all things for good. I trust that, and I don’t have to protect myself from man’s views or thoughts. The lord sees it all and if it can be of encouragement to someone struggling or even just give hope to counselees that the scripture really is what’s going to be what changes the counselees heart. I guess hope for the councilors that scripture is what changes people hearts that they might be counseling. If they’re faithful to give them the word that the lord is in charge of what happens in that person’s life ultimately. I think that’s good. I do think that too often two struggles get shuffled under the rug. You don’t get to talk about them and then you pretend that they’re not really there when …

Although my thinking has changed from thinking that every woman in the world has an eating disorder, I know that’s not true, but I still know that there are a lot of women who struggle with their image and with eating disorders. Even the deeper issues that even Danielle got brought out during the council sessions were judgment. We’re judgmental of one another and we’re critical of ourselves and we’re critical of others. However, that gets played out and whatever sinful for it is, I think it’s things that should be talked about. We need friends. I think that was one of the things as I was watching Danielle talk to Caroline is realizing that Danielle probably didn’t have any real friends, not even her husband. She wasn’t comfortable talking to her husband about things that were embarrassing. I think the councilor became a first true friend for her. I think that’s something that could be more apparent, more everywhere. People need real friends that will teach them the word and walk them through scripture.

Christina Henson:
As I hear you talking Daelynn and as I’ve known you and heard you grow I hear you counseling yourself as you’re talking, that’s something that I guess it shows that somebody’s not ready to be counseled anymore when they’re able to council themselves. That’s usually the point where they begin to be able to help other people, like you are right now. I just wonder could you ever have imagined several years ago back when things where … When you were in the middle of everything. Could you have ever imagined that your struggles could be to help people this way?

Daelynn Romo:
No. At that point I didn’t want anybody to know about it. I think when I was going through it the last thing that I wanted was for anybody but who already knew about it already to know about it. Whether it would have helped somebody or not I was at the point where it didn’t really matter. They could figure out help some other way. I wasn’t going to be thrown under the bus so that they could get some help, if it would help. I really didn’t think, too, that it was that impactful. There was nothing special about it.

Christina Henson:
It just wasn’t a big deal?

Daelynn Romo:
Yeah.

Christina Henson:
That’s what you were telling yourself?

Daelynn Romo:
Well, and I wasn’t a big deal. You put yourself very lowly and you don’t realize that being a friend to someone can be a blessing to them. You’re just thinking I am not worth of anything. No good came come from me, all I do is bad, everything I do is wrong. ITs’ the embarrassment factor. There’s a selfishness that even if it would help somebody, oh well. I don’t want people to know, I don’t want people to think of me when they think of an eating disorder.

Christina Henson:
The fact that you’re willing to talk about this, that’s been a huge change for you?

Daelynn Romo: Yeah. I think it’s been a change that the lord only could have brought about, realizing that I don’t have to protect myself. That the lord is my judge and that no man is. I think I’ve seen the benefit of being honest and being truthful and real with people, that that’s really where you get to the heart of all issues and you actually get to talk about things that are meaningful and impactful and you get away from this superficial line of everything is fine, when it’s really not. People are struggling all over with all sorts of things.

Christina Henson:
Have you ever been recognized as Danielle?

Daelynn Romo:
Yeah, a few times.

Christina Henson:
Tell me about that.

Daelynn Romo:
I used to work in a retail store and a customer had come in who had watched the videos at her church and she asked me real discretely if I was Danielle. I had a coworker who asked me the same because she watched them in her church group. The conversation really didn’t lead to anything more than just that, but yeah. I have been recognized. Then when we go to some of the counseling seminars I’ve been pointed out or introduced. Yeah. I think that’s good. Think that’s all right. I think it’s okay to be a real person behind a somewhat fictitious person, that there’s some truth behind it. I think it’s all right to be recognized. Not me personally, but I know others have come to me telling me that people will ask them if Danielle is okay. How is Danielle doing now?

I think that’s just where the raw emotion, where those emotions that were portrayed in the observation videos, although they might have been stemmed to cry now, this is the part that it wouldn’t normally draw tears to my face now with where I’m at, but I could remember the feelings back when it did stem a lot of embarrassment and tears. I was able to draw from that and make the emotions more realistic because at one point they were very real. Having all the journals and all of my rants and rages, those all fresh in my mind, made it more real. Even to where the lord had brought me. By the end of those observation videos, and even when I watched them a couple nights ago, I was so thankful that that was not my reality anymore, that that wasn’t …

Really in the thick of it I didn’t think anything would ever be different. I think Danielle said that in one of the sessions that I will always be like this, this is who I am, and I honestly felt that. I wrote that over and over again in my journals that there would never be a way out of this and anytime any piece of food was set in front of me that there would be massive struggle. To see that that is not an issue at all and that I don’t think every girl is hiding an eating disorder I think is a huge freedom that the lord gave when you can render yourself underneath his teaching and underneath his word and be in the word. I do think being in the word is key. There’s still been times in my life where I’ve been out of the word. Life gets really messy.

Craig Marshall:
Thanks for listening to part one of this interview. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast so you can get part two as soon as it becomes available. If you’ve never seen the observation videos be sure to check them out on our website, there you can also submit questions for us to address in future podcasts. All of this can be found at IBCD.org/cdcpodcasts. Thanks for joining us and we look forward to being with you next time.

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