"Do You Have An Eating Disorder?" He Asked
By Špela Kranjec, Guest Contributor
I sat in lecture hall number two. I had been listening to a lecture by Professor Dr. Lavrič, the head of the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases. This was the physician that examined me when I first visited the Medical Center seven years ago because of anorexia. I couldn’t believe this was happening! I knew he didn’t recognize me, but I recognized him. But that was enough for me to be taken back to a time when I was a 15-year-old skinny and self-conscious little girl, with no will to live and an aversion to food.
I was once again sitting in that hospital chair in the Medical Center, opposite the physician who was examining me and laying some cold hard facts on me. Facts that led that 15-year-old girl to somehow find some will to live, somehow managed to reach normal body weight, and lived on. Even though all this happened so many years ago, I couldn’t think about anything else at the moment than that sick Špela, and this lecturer was my physician and couldn’t be a professor under any circumstances. But why?
The answer was given to me by the professor at the end of the lecture. Withered and silent, such as I was, I obviously drew his attention. Of course, as a physician dealing with eating disorders for many years he immediately recognized my problem. He looked at me with his penetrating brown eyes, and all of a sudden the only thing left hanging in the lecture hall was his question, “Do you have an eating disorder?” Everyone was silent. All eyes on me. Waiting for my response. Even though everyone knew. Shocked by the question, I sank deeper into my chair and nodded. When all is said and done, why hide it? Why should I keep lying to myself? Throughout the lecture, I felt as that 15-year-old girl because I was once again that 15-year-old girl from seven years ago. Apparently, I needed this physician once again. Because someone had to make me face the fact once again. The fact that I have anorexia. Again. And the fact that I won’t be able to solve this problem alone.
When I look back today, I know I couldn’t have done it without the help of others. Even though I felt embarrassed at that moment, I am extremely grateful to that physician today. He made me admit something that I’d never admit by myself. I had anorexia. I was in so deep, there was probably a clock ticking down to a day when my body couldn’t go on anymore and would just give up. Crashing down, with my life becoming dependent on a plastic tube for forced feeding.
This physician changed everything for me. He gave a name to my problem – a problem that made it difficult for me to find a will to live – and I finally knew how to start handling it. I had a small advantage: I know from seven years ago that to cure anorexia you need help. So I sought help with a psychiatrist. I knew I couldn’t do it without her.
There was something different this time: I decided – by myself – to put a stop to anorexia. I decided that I had to change something. And I steeled myself for what I had to do. And because of all this I made it. I won’t say it was easy, because it wasn’t. But it was worth it. Today, I would have no problems listening to a lecture by that professor. I would sit in the lecture hall confidently, participate in discussions, leaving the lecture hall at the end as a normal student – like all other students in that lecture hall that day.
I wrote down this long and difficult path to my goal – which is the best thing that happened in my life – in a book that I hope will help others realize that anorexia can be cured. This very book led to a Kickstarter project that I started with my brother, and you can start reading the first free chapter of my book, Notice Me.
I was born on February 17, 1992, in Slovenia – a rather small country. Towards the end of my primary school, I developed anorexia, which marked the next 9 years of my life. Even though the entire experience was very difficult and painful, I am grateful that it made me who I am today. I am proud that I had decided to fight for my life and that I overcame this disorder, which isn’t easy to beat. I decided to write a book about my experience, because I believe that I can help others. I know many people want to read a real-life story to make them feel better, maybe finding hope and motivation for their own struggles.