‘I’m Embarrassed About It Now Still’, Up-and-coming politician Christine Quinn comes clean about her stint in rehab for bulimia. Politician Christine Quinn Reveals Past Struggles With Bulimia and Alcoholism, Binge drinking and bulimia may not be topics that come to mind upon hearing the name Christine C. Quinn but the speaker of the New York City Council and Democratic candidate for mayor revealed her surprising life-long struggle with both diseases on Tuesday in The New York Times.
Quinn touches on these experiences in her upcoming memoir “With Patience and Fortitude” and says she contacted the newspaper because she believes that hiding her past isn’t healthy. “I just want people to know you can get through stuff,” she said. “I hope people can see that in what my life has been and where it is going.”
The 46-year-old described how coping with her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis contributed to her bulimia as a child. Her family kept her mother’s breast cancer and subsequent mastectomy a secret for almost six years, until Quinn discovered the truth in eighth grade, by way of a mouthy classmate.
Soon she embarked on a journey to become the “thinnest and prettiest” daughter, believing that it would somehow save her mother. By her sophomore year of high school, Quinn’s quest for perfection turned dangerous. She found out about binging and purging from girls in the locker room, and it soon became her secret outlet for relief. “For a brief moment, you’ve kind of expelled from your being the things that are making you feel bad,” said Quinn, who did not return Yahoo! Shine’s request for comment.
According to Lynne Grefe, President and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, Quinn’s experience is not unusual. “Although we can’t pinpoint eating disorders on one particular cause, we do know two things,” she says. “One, they often occur in people who feel a loss of control and try to gain it back by strictly monitoring their food intake. Second, that anxiety and stress play a role in triggering them; the food is just a vehicle for how a person expresses those feelings.”
Anxiety fueled Quinn’s teenage years. She described high school as having an unusually large sense of responsibility. When she was 16-years-old, she became her mother’s caretaker, bathing and feeding her, monitoring her medicine, and was even tasked with the devastating duty of informing her mother of her worsening diagnosis. According to the Times, “Her mother had gone deaf, and said that Christine, her younger daughter, was the only one whose lips she could read. So it was up to her daughter to deliver the worsening medical news the family received in doctors’ offices and hospital rooms, which her mother met with disbelief and sometimes anger.”