Lack of Support for Eating Disorder Treatment

By January 8, 2013

I am a 27 year old woman battling an eating disorder. I live in a tiny town, and there is no help for eating disorders here. My physician, a counselor and a nutritionist have all told me that they don’t have any experience with eating disorders – in their words, they “don’t know what to do with me.” I’m not underweight, but the struggle to eat bears down on me. I am depressed and have a hard time eating through the day. I’ve been told I need to just get over it, but I’ve tried and I can’t. I have huge issues from childhood I don’t know how to get through. I’ve tried and I’ve tried . . . they always find their way back. I am a Christian, but I have a hard time believing that God will always be there – I’ve been rejected so many times by so many people, including my parents. I just don’t know what else to do . . .where else to go. – Kelly


Where do I start? It’s disheartening to hear about the lack of support you feel from your family, friends and professional team. And it certainly seems like you have tried all you can to beat this on your own. The combination of these two things may be contributing to your depression as much as or more than the childhood issues you described.

I am encouraged that you are not underweight. If you are not somehow compensating through purging or exercising and you are maintaining your weight through somewhat balanced eating, then that tells me one thing…you have not given up. You are continuing to do the right thing even if you don’t feel like it. That attitude is a critical element in any recovery.

However, sometimes attitude is not enough. Let me encourage you to do several things that will better your chances of getting the help you need.

First, keep taking initiative to get help, just like you did in contacting us here at FINDINGbalance. That is important to your success. Don’t quit and don’t stop asking for help.

Second, if you’ve been trying to get better and nothing is changing that probably means you need to try something different. In other words, we need a change of scenery (literally or figuratively). You may need to do something drastically different. My first suggestion is for you to call a treatment facility and see if you can get into treatment. I know that treatment costs seem overwhelming, but you never know what doors will open when you knock. See “Finding Treatment” for more information.

Third, if you don’t go for treatment, then you either need to find professionals who can help you (obviously in a small town you are limited). This might mean moving to a larger town where you have a support system or driving a significant distance to get quality care. I don’t know your specifics, but I would encourage you to think outside of the box (that is if you want to escape the box).

Finally, if the local professionals you are working with are really your only option, then I would ask them to get educated about eating disorders. This site is one great resource. Being uneducated about something is acceptable; staying that way when you know someone needs help is not. Ask them to get help so that you can get help.

Travis Stewart, LPC