Melrose Heals: A conversation about eating disorders

Episode 36 - A Recovery Story: Brenda

Episode Summary

On this episode, we'll be sharing a story of recovery. Dr. Karen Nelson is joined by Brenda who will take us through her journey of diagnosis, treatment, and what it means to live in recovery.

Episode Notes

On this episode, we'll be sharing a story of recovery. Dr. Karen Nelson is joined by Brenda who will take us through her journey of diagnosis, treatment, and what it means to live in recovery. 

Click here for a transcript of this episode.

Episode Transcription

Dr. Karen Nelson: [00:00:00] Eating disorders thrive in secrecy and shame. It's when we create a safe space for honest conversation that we'll find the opportunity for healing. Hi there, I'm Dr. Karen Nelson, Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Melrose Center, welcoming you to Melrose Heals, A Conversation About Eating Disorders. A podcast designed to explore, discuss, and understand eating disorders and mental health.

On today's episode, we'll be sharing a story of recovery. I'm joined by Brenda, who will take us through her journey of diagnosis, treatment, and what it means to live in recovery. Now, before I begin, I invite you to take a deep breath and join me in this space.

Well, welcome to the podcast, Brenda. I'm so excited to have you here today, [00:01:00] but before we get started, I would love it if you could introduce yourself.

Brenda: I'm Brenda, and I'm excited to be here as well and be able to share my recovery journey from binge eating with others. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Amazing. Amazing. And so let's start at the beginning. As we kind of travel back there, as far as, tell us the story of when was your eating disorder diagnosed? 

Brenda: It was diagnosed probably within the last three to four years, I would say. So, my eating disorder was called binge eating, and that's – when I was eating, I wasn't getting full. To me, it was this, I just call it a black hole. And I continued to gain weight and things like that. I'm a cancer survivor as well. So I didn't think too much about it 20 years ago when I was starting to gain weight. But it got challenging and to me, added to my [00:02:00] depression and just terrible feelings like that and stuff. So that's when they suggested Melrose and I thought, ‘I don't need that.’ And it was more of, well, why don't you try it? I’m like, ‘Okay.’ And probably from the day I walked in the door, it was life changing. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: I heard a couple things that I want to touch in on. That comment that you made, Brenda, that ‘I knew something was maybe off, or I knew that there was maybe this complex relationship with food, but I just didn't really know what it was.’ Does that resonate for you? Or maybe tell us a little bit more about that. 

Brenda: One hundred percent. And I can even go back a little bit, now, after having learned a little bit of problem solving skills, I wanted to eat when I was overwhelmed, when I was tired, when something was new or [00:03:00] hard. Avoidance, I think, and I was just trying to, I don't know.

Dr. Karen Nelson: So here you were diagnosed with an eating disorder, but back up for us a little bit, Brenda. As you now reflect on it, when do you believe the eating disorder may have begun for you? 

Brenda: Oh, probably as a young child. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Tell me, that's right. Many people share that exact same comment. And now with all that wisdom and understanding, take us back there, or help us know what that might look like.

Brenda: Well, I can see times where if I couldn't do my homework, and you know, wanting to be a perfectionist or something like that, and if I didn't understand something, it was frustrating, I might put it away and then go to food. If there was a conflict at home or something like that, I would [00:04:00] possibly go to food.

Dr. Karen Nelson: What I'm hearing you describe is this. relationship with food that had a lot of emotional components to it, right? Like, ‘As I felt maybe anxious or stressed or sad, maybe there were some underlying mental health issues that were happening. I was potentially depressed. Using food, this relationship with food developed where I was feeling some urgency to maybe overeat or binge eat.’

Brenda: I think later on, or let's say more recently, or prior to the diagnosis, was when I was feeling probably the most out of control. And for me, out of control was the whole bag of chips, the whole sleeve of cookies, things like that. I knew when to stop afterwards, but I still shouldn't have had that. I could have made better choices, but I didn't know. I wanted something quick. For sure, I was probably skipping [00:05:00] breakfast. By the time I'd get to work, I'm hungry, so then I'd have a coffee and a roll or a muffin. And then by the time lunchtime came, it was like, ‘Okay, I wanted something with fries and that was going to be really filling and maybe, you know, go for the pasta.’

Just, like, what was the biggest plate I could have, kind of thing. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: And so noticing some of those characteristics that we're using to assess if someone is meeting criteria for an eating disorder. Specifically binge eating disorder, the thing that I want to talk about next is all the emotion, the feelings that are attached after I may over-engage with food. So tell us about that. What did you notice about the feelings that you were having when you may interact with food and feel like you potentially had binged? What do you remember about that? 

Brenda: I remember being angry with myself and like, ‘Ugh, why couldn't I have [00:06:00] avoided this? I'm so full now, it's uncomfortable.’ I guess part of it too was, I didn't even know why I was doing it. That was the biggest piece. And I'm using the term, ‘You don't know what you don't know,’ and there were so many things I didn't know. When it came to the emotion, it was like just identifying what an emotion is, you know, that, and it was through DBT that helped me. But just reading the different emotions.

‘Yes, I'm feeling this right now,’ and deciding that's what you're feeling and getting into the interpretations of it. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Well, let's maybe talk a little bit more about that. I think what I'm hearing you mention is not only being kind of confused by feeling shame or guilt or anger towards myself. Does that resonate or what do you remember about that?

Brenda: Yeah, definitely shame because if there was somebody else in the house, I [00:07:00] wouldn't be snacking. I tend to like company and that sort of motivates me a little bit. So there was a lot more time alone. And that made it a little bit more challenging. I'm starting to exercise a lot more and I like that feeling much better than the overeating feeling.

Dr. Karen Nelson: I like that you pointed out that desire to potentially eat alone, or oftentimes people share with us, specifically binge eating often happens in secret or in private. I may hide the foods that I'm interacting with or I may desire to only eat alone. 

Brenda: I don't know that I hid or snuck it, but I've been alone for the last, you know, 12 to 15 years, being widowed and then working from home with COVID and things like that.

So things like that were just challenging. I tend not to go out unless I was invited. And people don't [00:08:00] necessarily know that, either, and don't think about it. Now, I make plans for myself. My calendar's, like, just booked. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: That's awesome. Well, that place, too, of maybe even if my, you know, social circumstances are that I live alone, that potentially can be a risk factor per se, right?

Because the eating disorder wants us to remain isolated or disconnected because we may have so much shame around our interactions or behaviors with food. 

Brenda: Yeah. There were days I didn't want to – I called them my dark days and it was like, I wouldn't necessarily get out of bed. And that happened a few times before I started the therapy, and then after the therapy started, it was rare. Sometimes I might, if I was over-socialized, maybe, I might need a half a [00:09:00] day like that just to wind down. But I was starting to recognize that. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: I'm so glad you bring up that term, that place of maybe feeling just really down or depressed, a lot of negative self-talk in your head. Or what do you remember about those days?

Brenda: I remember, like, I would get up. Maybe have a cup of coffee, take the dogs out, and then crawl back into bed. And then I could sleep for another four hours. And then I was sluggish. I hadn't had anything to eat and I would just sort of stay there and not do anything. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: And tell us, Brenda, how food may have kind of come in, maybe wanting, of course, when I'm hurting, I want to feel better. And so maybe looking to food for comfort or nurturance or does that resonate? 

Brenda: I feel like looking at it. And I think about it now and all I can [00:10:00] think of are like carbs going into my body. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Yeah. 

Brenda: Just like a warm bowl of mac and cheese –

Dr. Karen Nelson: Yes.

Brenda: – just kind of making you feel like a hug kind of thing. And sometimes that's still not enough because you want a little bit more and then you want something else because it's like, ‘Oh, I didn't eat, you know, enough or something like that. And then it's like, I need something else. And then there's a point where you just, I just didn't stop. I went from one thing to the next, to the next, to the next until I went to bed. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Perfect description. It's just a perfect description and how we can have just a lot of compassion for like, ‘Of course, when I'm hurting and it feels dark and lonely, of course, I want to feel better. And so if I am going to that, you know, bowl of mac and cheese, maybe for a moment while I'm eating it, it's yummy and tasty, but it's not taking away the reality of what may have caused some of those dark days. [00:11:00] All the emotion behind it.’ And so then feeling this urgency of like, ‘Well, I need to keep then engaging with food because maybe it provides just a little bit of relief.’ Or what do you remember?

Brenda: That's a pretty good, accurate description. I didn't think of it that way. I just didn't know why I was doing it until we started researching. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: That's right. I mean, such a good point. It makes sense. Especially if I've been kind of in this pattern for a while, I may feel kind of overwhelmed or confused. I may not understand that it could be different. And also, how we were talking about shame. How shame can convince me that I should be able to fix it and solve it all on my own or do it different. What do you remember about that? 

Brenda: Yeah, the other one with the shame was, ‘I'll start tomorrow.’

Dr. Karen Nelson: Oh, tell us. Diet starts Monday, right? 

Brenda: Yeah. Oh, and it was always tomorrow. And [00:12:00] I just didn't think about it. I kept putting it off. I'll start tomorrow. But I didn't know what I was going to do differently. So there was part of the problem solving that wasn't there. I didn't have that skill yet. to figure out, like, ‘Okay, just make a little plan and I'll start tomorrow and have breakfast.

I'll start tomorrow with a walk. I'll start tomorrow, you know, with this or that.’ It was just, ‘I'll start tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'm going to do this.’ So. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Very, very true. 

Brenda: And now I kind of am more cognizant of what I'm having today. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Yeah. 

Brenda: So. In case something fun came up tomorrow, I could say yes.

Dr. Karen Nelson: That's right. Well, I'm the queen of reframes, so you absolutely care and maybe you just are nurturing yourself in a different way, right? 

Brenda: Yeah. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Instead of saying like, ‘I'm terrible and bad,’ I'm saying, ‘I deserve to take up space. I'm actually quite great and I'm okay.’ You know, like how that dialogue can change in our head. Brenda, we were talking [00:13:00] about your experience of just. Appreciating that some of these eating disorder behaviors may have started back in adolescence and moved with you through adulthood. Let's talk about what that turning point was and how you came in for an assessment at Melrose. Tell us that story.

Brenda: That's when I knew I was overweight and I wanted to work with either a dietician. I didn't really know about Melrose. And I also wanted to inquire about gastric bypass surgery. And when I talked to the doctor about it, I felt like she said, you need to lose 25 pounds on your own first. To me, that was something they wanted to know if I was really into it or something like that. But I knew if I just had the surgery, my eating patterns weren't going to change. So I knew I didn't want to just go and have the surgery and [00:14:00] just be done there, because one, I still like to eat, and I didn't know how my emotions were going to impact it. So, she suggested Melrose. I kind of thought that was sort of odd, but then it was sort of, ‘Why not? Let's try it. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: And it makes sense that, especially if, just kind of going through life, interacting with food in this particular way, I may not know that it potentially could be different. Or that the way that I'm thinking about food and interacting with food, that it is even a potential eating disorder. It's not uncommon that people will say, I didn't even know binge eating was an eating disorder. Let's talk about that a little bit. What do you remember about the initial assessment? 

Brenda: When I got here, a lot of the things of why I was doing it, I could describe that, but I didn't know how to fix it. So like, you know, eating, filling the black hole, and knowing I was overwhelmed, [00:15:00] or lonely, or didn't want to start something, and I just didn't know what steps to take. So when I came, we talked about what I was doing – the actual eating – and describing some of that black hole-ness, and it came out as a binge eating disorder, and I was shocked. I was surprised. And it's like, ‘Okay, I have something and they know what it is. And it sounds like they have ideas for it. And, you know, did it mean medicine? Did it mean exercise? Did it mean restriction?’ I just, I had no clue what it meant. So, you know, you get a therapist, you get a nutritionist, and then there was like a 17 week class. It's set up. I'm ready to try it. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Absolutely. Well, let's talk [00:16:00] about that. I'm so glad you brought it up, Brenda, that I knew I was interacting with food in this certain way. I knew the emotions that potentially were there. But I didn't really know that was a diagnosable eating disorder. That is a really common comment that we hear from many of our patients. Sometimes when people hear the term ‘eating disorder,’ there's like a particular image that may be kind of conjured up in their brain. Maybe more people may think of more anorexia or bulimia. But binge eating disorder is a very real eating disorder. It is very treatable. And was it relieving to hear, like, ‘Oh, this is something?’ Or was it scary to hear that?

Brenda: I feel like it was a little bit of both. One, identifying it and knowing, ‘Okay, I'm going to a place that is going to help direct me and educate me.’ So that part was good. It was scary. [00:17:00] It's like, ‘How am I going to do this? Is my little black hole going to fill up with, you know, colorful thoughts? I don't know. How is that going to work?’ I wasn't sure what to expect there. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Really good point. Using that descriptor of a black hole, right? When I feel this emotional black hole, there's no amount of food that is ever going to fill that. Because it's not about food, it's about emotion. And that's what we have to talk about. 

Brenda: 100%. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Yeah. Let's talk a little bit about what treatment has been like for you. 

Brenda: It was a lot of work, but it wasn't scary work. It was learning what emotions were and identifying them, and that was rather eye-opening. To sit back and go, ‘Okay, what am I feeling right now?’ And, you know, I had a list of descriptors and I was able to point out, [00:18:00] ‘This is anger. This is sadness.’ And I was able to go back into different times and possibly figure out what was going on at that point in time. And that part was just interesting to just understand what my interpretation of that meant or my understanding of the situation. What was the trigger or circumstances that happened? You could recognize it, you could feel it, and ‘Okay, now that I understand it, this doesn't make me want to eat. It kind of relieved it a little bit. And then we also learned how to relieve some of that by going through the steps of understanding what my interpretations were.

Dr. Karen Nelson: I like how you bring up that emotion piece. Many times on the podcast, we talk about the function of the eating disorder, right? That the eating disorder shows up through food, right? I may be overeating or undereating. [00:19:00] You know, I may be engaging in some eating disorder symptom. But it's actually about emotion, and I think what I hear, Brenda, you sharing, is, ‘I really noticed that when certain emotions were triggered, I would then maybe use food to kind of manage that emotion.’

Brenda: Manage? Or not face? 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Yeah. Numb out. I don't want to feel that. 

Brenda: Yeah, yeah, there was just something there. But I didn't know what I didn't want to feel. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Oh. 

Brenda: So that's still the big, it was sort of that mystery of, you know, why am I eating? And so then I was able to afterwards learn, it's like, ‘Okay, I feel a little overwhelmed.

There's so many dishes in the sink. I don't want to wash them. So I'm going to eat something instead. And then it's like, ‘Well, let's just take five minutes. And do something.’ [00:20:00] And boom, then I was happier about cleaning the kitchen than I was –

Dr. Karen Nelson: Yes, absolutely. 

Brenda: – about eating to avoid it. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: So true. It's so true. I'm so glad that you named, it wasn't about, quote, managing the emotion for you. It was about, ‘I didn't even want to feel the emotion. Like I avoided it.’ So eating became a way to just sidetrack that emotion. And that emotion doesn't go away, right? If those dishes are overwhelming and in the sink, engaging in a binge isn't going to get rid of the dishes.

Brenda: Nope. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: That's right. And really slowing down, being curious, naming what is happening, like naming emotion. It sounds like that ended up being pretty big for you, to be able to learn how to name your own emotion. 

Brenda: It was. And having the three meals a day, I was [00:21:00] satisfied after I had my breakfast or my lunch or my dinner. I'm satisfied. You ate this. You feel good. Yes, you're overwhelmed by, you know – we'll use the dishes as an example – but you don't need something else. So it was. I didn't – there was one less emotion there, I guess. Hunger. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: That’s right. 

Brenda: Or if that's not an emotion, there was just one less –

Dr. Karen Nelson: It's a feeling. That's right. 

Brenda: Yeah. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: I didn't feel hungry. Nice. Really beautiful example of the importance of integrating. That's why we have a multidisciplinary team at Melrose, right? Deeply important to make sure I'm getting my nutritional needs met and I'm feeding my body. Also, equally important to really start to name and understand the emotional component.

Eating disorder treatment is very much the connection of understanding, ‘Yes, my body needs to be fed, and there's a lot of emotion present. And you [00:22:00] naming, beautifully, Brenda, the ability to do that through treatment. Well let's maybe talk about, you know, naming and identifying emotion or managing the eating disorder.

Were there any particular skills that you noticed were pretty helpful? 

Brenda: Ooh, lots. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Ah, tell us! 

Brenda: Well, I think it was just Identifying and interpreting the emotion. I've used it on other people: When I've seen somebody really angry in my head, it was, you know, recognizing that they're angry and it's like, ‘Oh, they must have lost something that was really important to them.’

Dr. Karen Nelson: Right. 

Brenda: Kind of thing. It just sort of helped me understand them more. And so that practice is there a lot. And then, the interpretation of it and maybe getting down to what the truth is. What are the facts? That was another one, the fact finding. And [00:23:00] then one of my favorite is problem solving. So now if we go back to the dish example, it's sort of like, ‘Okay, this is overwhelming, but what steps can I take to fix this?’ And, you know, dishes have not been overwhelming to me for several years now. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: That's so great. And I don't put off, like, doing something. You know, I need to plan a little bit, and it's like, when am I going to get this done? And I know it sounds bad, like it's always on a task or a chore, but that was overwhelming, a little bit.

Dr. Karen Nelson: Well, and those become the real life stressors. It is stressful if, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to clean up the living room or I have tons of laundry. Work is overwhelming or stressful. Those do become the real-life triggers. Big emotion is triggered and so of course I don't want to feel stressed or [00:24:00]overwhelmed, and if in the past I've utilized food to manage that emotion, we just found our trigger. And really naming how helpful that's been for you to just process of like naming emotion.

Brenda: Mm hmm. Yeah. So that part, that has felt good throughout the process of learning those little skills. And I'm sure there's a couple more just not coming right to my brain.

Dr. Karen Nelson: I think too, you know, how you mentioned even just like noticing emotion around me, like that actually becomes a really helpful thing. Sometimes emotion can feel big and overwhelming and scary and to – literally labeling it can take some of the intensity away. Sometimes when I don't know what I'm feeling, of course I'm overwhelmed. And so the process of just like slowing down and checking in with myself, it sounds like that was just really helpful over [00:25:00] time.

Brenda: And I still use it today. Every day. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Every day. We got em – we got freaking emotion every day, Brenda, right? 

Brenda: Like it never is not here. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: I know. As you were welcomed into treatment, Brenda, most patients with a diagnosis of binge eating disorder are treated in the outpatient setting. And the recommendations that we make is to attend a group, which is a binge eating disorder group. It's a 17 week group that has a psycho education component. It also has a dietician component, and there can also be like a physical therapist or an occupational therapist that comes into the group. So it's this amazing group that teaches people to understand just the psychology of binge eating and then really to work us and focus on skills on how to manage it. So group is a main component of treatment here. And then the other piece that you mentioned is individual therapy with a therapist [00:26:00] and then individual dietitian appointments. And those three components develop this space to give you this place of lots of opportunities to explore and heal and renegotiate your thoughts and feelings and behaviors around food. And as you kind of reflect on that, as you were moving through treatment, Brenda, were there any messages you kind of needed to hear about the eating disorder or recovery? Or were there any things that were helpful to know as you were moving through recovery? 

Brenda: When we would go out during that 17 week group, we would decide, like, in advance what we were going to choose to eat, how we felt before that, and then we'd discuss, like, how we felt afterwards. And one of them was going to a fast food place. And so it was, ‘Okay, I'm going to [00:27:00] go.’ and I chose like a lemonade, a small sandwich, and I think I chose small fries and it's like, I'm just going to see. Because I had my lunch earlier and I had a snack that – you know, this should be enough for me. And that was a surprise because normally I would have gone and ordered two of these or the large and, you know, just all of that. But it was probably because I'd maybe skipped lunch or I'd waited too long to go to have dinner or something like that. Or I skipped dinner and that's now, you know, I'm going someplace and it was just too much of a rush. So that made a big difference for me developing that skill.

Dr. Karen Nelson: Well, all of those experiences through the kind of help and support with a dietitian and a therapist to really kind of explore what thoughts and feelings come up when I'm about to go to a fast food restaurant. [00:28:00] Do I already have beliefs before I roll through the drive thru? Have I already determined that I quote, shouldn't be here?

Which triggers lots of emotion, which of course makes me not want to feel bad. And so then I may be interacting with food in a very different way. What I'm really hearing you talk about is all of the awareness. Not through shame, but through curiosity. You were like, ‘How do I feel about this? And what type of choices do I want to make as I'm just actively engaged in that decision making instead of letting the eating disorder run the show.’

Brenda: Yeah, and that part's hard to change. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Very hard to change, absolutely. Well, I think we get a lot of messages, right, about what we should eat, how much we should eat, what we should be avoiding. 

Brenda: Yeah, and every time I would say, I'm trying to correct myself here, when I would say a bad food, or something like that, or I wasn't having that, they were worried that I was restricting myself. You [00:29:00] know, you're not supposed to do that. So it was trying to change that message. And, you know, this week I changed that message too, cause I knew I was going out one day and we were having pizza. And so I had my pizza, but then I made sure before that I had breakfast and lunch. So I wasn't, like, that

starving. I didn't starve myself to go devour a whole pizza. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: You bet. Making some mindful choices. We have a belief at Melrose, all foods fit, right? We say it all the time. All foods fit. And I have a lot of choices to make about food. And so how do I just use mindfulness, which is just intentionally paying attention to make some of those decisions about food? I love how you describe that. Absolutely. When you think about, again, this kind of journey of recovery from a binge eating disorder, let's maybe take a moment and talk a little bit about body image. Any thoughts on that? [00:30:00] Or what, what do you notice about your own relationship with your body?

Brenda: I have a different picture in my head of what I actually look like –

Dr. Karen Nelson: Tell me.

Brenda: – than what I actually look like, you know. I saw a picture of myself in this bathing suit and I was like, that's not what I see in my head. And so my picture is a little bit better. than what's actually out there. I used to shy away from photos, but now I don't mind being part of them. I'm just gonna smile and it's because I'm there. I'm, you know, participating in it.

Dr. Karen Nelson: I like how you're talking about maybe this, like, renegotiation that I may have had with my body, right? I think many people that I work with, Brenda, share at least initially when they're coming into eating disorder treatment, a pretty negative body [00:31:00] image. I may have spent a lot of time hating my body, telling myself my body needs to change, avoiding pictures, not going to events because of this negative idea I have about my body. And it sounds like you have worked to maybe renegotiate that. 

Brenda: I would say, yeah, I kind of just accepted it. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Yeah. 

Brenda: You know, the way it was. You know, just trying on clothes was hard. There's little things that bother me. But, you know, for the past few years, I just didn't let it bother me. I was just going to be comfortable in whatever I was going to be in and that kind of helped me. So I think there's a little bit of age there that helps you get over that. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: We often talk about it in the binge eating disorder group, how it can be kind of this radical statement of saying like, ‘You know what, this is my body and I'm going to engage in life and I'm going to just really like participate in life instead [00:32:00] of maybe if I'm struggling with negative body image, kind of withdrawing or not participating or those types of things.’ 

Brenda: Well, I think I don't go to food for comfort now. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: That's it.

Brenda: And it's there to nourish me and feed my body. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: So many things have changed. What I'm hearing you talk about, I feed myself consistently. There's no such thing as a bad food, and I just notice how I feel when I eat certain foods. You know, as we're about to close here, Brenda, I would love it if you could tell us a little bit about why did it feel so important to share your story today? 

Brenda: I didn't know this podcast thing was out there. And then when I heard it, I enjoyed listening to a couple of the ones that I listen to, and that made me feel good. And I think doing this, it was like, ‘I want to practice what I preach.’ And that's, it's kind of keeping me [00:33:00] on track. So that's what I like about, you know, sort of being involved in there, and then who doesn't like the kudos of, you know –

Dr. Karen Nelson: That's right.

Brenda:  – you're a success. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: That’s awesome. 

Brenda: It’s like, ‘Okay. Yeah, I am.’

Dr. Karen Nelson: You know, there are likely listeners right now who are working on their own recovery and anything special or, or anything particular you'd like to say to them?

Brenda: Just be kind to yourself. And it takes time. And recognize some of those, it's emotion. Just recognize the emotion. Identifying that and feel it for a minute and then move on. 

Dr. Karen Nelson: Well, Brenda, I can't thank you enough. It's been an absolute delight and honor to get to, you know, hear your story and you share all of this beautiful, beautiful insight with us. Thank you. 

That's it for today. Thanks for joining me. We've covered a lot, so I encourage you to let it settle and filter in. And as I tell my patients at the end of every [00:34:00] session: Take notice, pay attention, and we'll take it as it comes. I'll talk to you next time. To learn more about Melrose Center, please visit

If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, we're here to help. Call 952 993 6200 to schedule an appointment and begin the journey towards healing and recovery. Melrose Heals: A Conversation About Eating Disorders was made possible by generous donations to the Park Nicollet Foundation.