Why I Re-Entered Counseling

BY TAYLOR HAFNER The past few months (my last of college) have been about as hectic and anxiety-inducing as I anticipated. What I didn’t anticipate, however, is just how I…

God and Depression: In Church, I Was Told My Mental Illness Didn’t Exist

I occasionally re-share articles that I’ve written for other publications here on xo, Ayana. While my blog tone is relatively lighthearted, these articles are typically heavier reading — I love this happy corner of the Internet I’ve created, but I don’t ever want to ignore things close to my heart for the sake of branding. I felt led to share this article after reading about the tragic death of Andrew Stoecklein, a popular megachurch pastor in Chino, California who died by suicide at 30 years old. While I grieve for his family, especially his wife Kayla and three sons, I’ve also been enraged by the cruel things I’ve seen online. 

Pastors have said terrible things about this man’s eternal fate, about perceived spiritual weakness, about depression being impossible once you accept Jesus. Lies, lies, lies — and damaging lies that make it hard to trust church leadership. Additionally, some religious publications have published as much detail as possible about the incident, which goes against the recommendations for Reporting on Suicide.

No matter how far we’ve come, we still have work to do. 

A Short History Of A Long Relationship With Poor Body Image

TW: Discussion of disordered eating and weight issues. 

To say that I’ve hated my body my entire life is technically true, but it feels too vague. I’ve despised my stomach, made peace with my stretch marks and then gone to war again, picked apart my hair, my nose, my fingers, my cellulite — a darkly humorous moment came in seventh grade when I decided I had an unsightly mustache and covered my mouth with my hand when I talked. I did not know a life where I looked in the mirror without feeling bad, let alone good. I often smile through gritted teeth when taking pictures for body positivity. Such is life.