The Times is just full of heavy confessionals today. Not only did Angelina Jolie pen a brutally frank op-ed about her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy, but mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn sat down with the paper to discuss her past struggles with bulimia and alcoholism.

Quinn is often portrayed as brusque and overly aggressive, and it's easy to pass her sudden bout of openness off as a strategic attempt to soften that image. But Quinn denies that the confession has anything to do with politics—“It feels like an oddly nonpolitical thing," she said.

The story is chock-full of sympathy-provoking revelations. Quinn, whose mother died of cancer when Quinn was 16, found out about the illness from a classmate, of all heinous things. She cared for both her sick mother and ailing grandmother, and it was Quinn who was forced to relay the news to her by-then deaf mother that "doctors had concluded there was nothing more that they could do for her." She went on to struggle with bulimia, and underwent 28 days of rehab for alcoholism. She is now sober.

Does this pardon her often hot temper and vindictive tendencies? No. But it does shed some light, perhaps, on where her behavior comes from.

“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.”