EDs, Trauma & the Desperate Need for Services

There needs to be not only different levels of treatment available, intensive outpatient or day programs, residential programs, and relapse prevention programs, but also ones that treat co-existing conditions such as trauma based disorders, etc. That was something that I struggled with because I had childhood trauma. When the eating disorder developed, it also became a way to numb more of the trauma symptoms I was experiencing. But because the trauma symptoms were so severe when I sought treatment in an outpatient program, I was not able to stay in it and had to leave. I was also deemed too sick with the eating disorder to get counseling at a place that had free trauma counselors because I could not find (or afford) a private therapist who was specialized in trauma. I also did not meet criteria for a higher level of care in BC (a residential program) because I was not able to eat the necessary amount I needed and wasn’t able to gain the weight they wanted me to be at to access it which was WHY I needed to have that level of care to begin with. I was also not medically or psychiatrically sick enough for inpatient treatment despite at times being suicidal, so I was left with little to no adequate help for a few years besides medical checks and a psychiatrist, case workers, etc. In early 2007, I planned to end my life because I ran out of options and had nowhere left to go for help. No one could help me despite me telling them what I needed. I used all the resources I had available. There was nothing left. But then something amazing happened. I had started making video blogs online months earlier about my struggles and lack of access to help. When I was going to end my life, someone who had watched my videos and talked with me a few times happened to be online and stopped me. They offered to help me. Because of that, I was able to access treatment in the US. It saved my life, and I am almost nine years in recovery now.

~ Ashley Polson

1 Comment
  1. Shirley Ringo

    Hello Ashley, So glade that someone reached out to you. I work with emotional trauma daily and it is truly a complicated process. I am from Canada but I have been in the USA for 12 years. Most of my work has been with military and their families. My husband and I do emotional trauma work for clients and professionals. I am so sorry for the difficult time you had getting care. However, I do understand that there is a great lack of trained trauma professionals who offer care.

    After returning from Europe in 2014 where we worked on all military bases from one country to enough we found ourselves working with women with eating disorders. So much trauma ….. We couldn’t understand why the trauma was not being look at in most treatment programs. We are now about to open a center with the focus on trauma and eating disorders. If there is anything we can do for you please ask. You are not broken and trauma can be healed.

    Kind regards,

    Shirley Ringo,

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