Glennon Doyle Opens Up About New Eating Disorder Diagnosis: "I Did Not Believe It"
THE POPULAR AUTHOR WAS BLINDSIDED BY THE NEWS.
A New York Times bestselling author, Glennon Doyle is best known for her three moving memoirs, Untamed, Love Warrior, and Carry On, Warrior. As an extension of those popular projects, she now also hosts the podcast We Can Do Hard Things alongside her soccer star wife Abby Wambach and sister Amanda Doyle.
While fans have come to expect Doyle's open-book honesty on tough topics, many were still surprised by her recent disclosure of a new eating disorder diagnosis. But perhaps most shaken of all was Doyle herself, who says she was blindsided by her doctor's insight into her condition.
Read on to learn why the news of her diagnosis came as such a shock, and why she decided to share this news publicly in the "messy middle" of her recovery.
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Doyle has been open about her long history of bulimia.
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Through her books and podcast, the author has laid bare her history of battling with and recovering from alcoholism, drug abuse, and bulimia. However, in a recent episode of We Can Do Hard Things, she revealed to listeners that she had relapsed into her eating disorder when she began purging after eating and religiously watching the scale.
After discussing it with her doctor and therapist, Doyle decided to go public with her recent challenges, she explained in a recent Instagram post. "I just don't do well when there's something important that I'm holding back. I think it comes from my recovery from alcoholism," she added while speaking to People. "I'm not trying to be shiny," she added. "We call it We Can Do Hard Things for a reason."
Though Doyle sees unflinching, "life-out-loud" honesty as crucial to her own healing, she notes that she did give herself a grace period to process privately before sharing her news with the public. "I think there's a real, important part of speaking from your scars and not gaping open wounds," she explained.
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Now she's revealed a new eating disorder diagnosis.
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When Doyle relapsed into her bulimic patterns, she turned to medical professionals for help. At the time, she hoped to get her habits "under control," in order "to be less scared and freer and not in danger," she recounted.
However, after a thorough physical and mental evaluation, her doctor's assessment came as a shock: In addition to relapsing into bulimia, Doyle was also diagnosed with anorexia. "There is no way I can explain to you the level of bafflement, shock, denial, confusion," she shared on the podcast. "The shift of my identity as bulimic, bulimic, bulimic… anorexia is a totally different thing," Doyle said. "It's like a different religion. It's a different identity. It's a different way of thinking, It's so confusing and it shook me very deeply. And I did not believe it," she added.
She says accepting the diagnosis took a "big shift in thinking."
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In the time that followed, Doyle began processing her history of eating disorders through this new lens. "It was a big shift in thinking for me," she said (via People). "I started reading this book about what an anorexic's life looks like. I don't know how to explain the feeling of reading things that you thought were part of your personality and who you were, and reading that they're actually just a collection of symptoms of an effing disease," Doyle said.
Given that self-reflection has been a focal point to Doyle's successful career, Doyle admits that she found her oversight of her own condition "humiliating."
"It was stunning to be a person whose life and work is about self-examination, is about discovering the nuance and minutiae of who we are and talking about it every day and then not knowing this information about yourself," she said.
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Doyle is taking a new approach to her recovery.
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Looking back, Doyle says she now realizes her initial recovery from bulimia lacked the soul-searching needed to overcome her affliction more permanently. "I never, not once, went back and really figured out what happened to me. I didn't excavate. I didn't look at things, I didn't do the work. But instead I just used control and discipline and willpower to crush my bulimia." This in part led to her relapse and secondary diagnosis, she suggests. "It's like, bulimia being an animal, and then I fixed it by becoming a robot. It's like I cured my bulimia with anorexia."
The author says she is now committed to working through the "messy middle" of her diagnosis, and is working to take ownership of her recovery. "This year, we are going to be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyway," she shared on social media.