Who I Am

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This person survived rape.

This person survived sexual assault.

This person survived an eating disorder.

This person survived drug abuse.

This person survived alcohol abuse.

This person survived religious brainwashing.

This person survived bullying.

This person survived discrimination.

This person survived losing his best friend at 18.

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By all accounts, I am a Survivor.

A victim, yes – BUT durable.

I live with all the symptoms that come from having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Bipolar II Disorder. My scars come from genetics to environmental factors and everything in-between. Life has always been barely manageable – a world filled with pain. Even moments of joy weren’t pleasurable. The moments were only the absence of pain. A numbness.

But through self-preservation and love, I’m still here. Each day is a fight and it shouldn’t be. But it is and I now have the necessary skills to cope with the journey of life.

As much as I’m a Survivor, I want to be known as a Liver. Because, life should be more than just surviving. It should be lived. A life isn’t lived unless it’s accompanied by both the good and the bad.

This decade has been brutal, senselessly unkind. A decade filled with loss, pain, and grief. It’s also been a decade filled with love. Love from my husband. Love from my family. Love from friends. A decade which started with me completely lost and ends with me on a journey of self-acceptance and self-love.

In 2020, join me in living. Take the trip. Write the book. Share your story. Love and be loved.

Learn more about me on my author site at calebislost.com

A Donation to the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library

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I’m always happy to support local libraries and couldn’t pass up the chance to donate a copy of my book, “Harnessing Darkness: Expressing Mental Illness Through Poetry,” to the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library while I was in the area for a speaking engagement.

The Florence-Lauderdale Public Library is located at 350 N. Wood Ave, Florence, AL 35630. For those of you who live in Lauderdale County, be sure to support your local library by checking out a book! You can learn more on their website.

As always, be sure to check out my Facebook Author page as well as my website to learn about my upcoming speaking engagements and book signings!

Healing PTSD Fundraising Stamps!

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If you plan on mailing holiday cards this year (or not), please consider purchasing these fundraising postal stamps that support people living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Everyone can always use a few stamps, so be sure to support a good cause.

I think it’s great that there’s beginning to be more awareness when it comes to mental illness and PTSD. Instead of choosing stamps that boast pictures of Santa, wreaths, or other holiday décor, choose these beautiful stamps that represent the healing process. The stamps go on sale December 2, so be sure to visit your local post office!

Learn more about the stamps here.

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Harnessing Darkness: Expressing Mental Illness Through Poetry

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My debut book, Harnessing Darkness: Expressing Mental Illness Through Poetry has already achieved the following:

#1 New Release on Amazon in the Gay & Lesbian Poetry category

#1 New Release on Amazon in the Death, Grief, & Loss Poetry category

Harnessing Darkness traces the struggle of living with mental illness. Through sections aptly titled Birth, Life, Death, and Rebirth, Caleb Woods gives readers the experience of what it’s like to live in the mind of someone who struggles with a roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis. Caleb chooses to open the doors of his mind, allowing you to see not only the dark, but the light. Caleb lets each nightmare, depressed thought, and abundance of anxieties come to the surface with harrowing and hopeful poems about the struggles of living with mental illness and growing up gay in the Bible Belt. Experience loss, pain, heartbreak, and hope with Harnessing Darkness.

Get your copy today! Now available on Amazon!

Visit my Facebook Author Page and my Book Page to learn more!

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Dark Phoenix

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I understand that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and The Avengers are a big hit right now, but I grew up with the X-Men.

I’ve always connected with X-Men because of the similarities between mutants and LGBT people.

Often feared.

Often misjudged.

Often hated.

Even the very first X-Men movie shows politicians trying to enact a Mutant Registration Act. You can’t deny the similarities. Since gay people feel different and are often treated differently by society, we become mutants. We receive funny glances, the hateful rhetoric, and the discrimination hurled our way. Many of us are shunned from our families, left to live on our own. Some of us must live in hiding and almost always, in fear.

We’re used to it.

I guess that’s why I’ve always connected with the X-Men. When it comes to comics in general, there’s no greater story than the The Dark Phoenix Saga. It’s a haunting and beautiful story about love, friendship, and sacrifice. Ultimately, I know some of the X-Men movies have been hit-or-miss. However, I’m looking forward to the Dark Phoenix movie and seeing this story unfold onscreen.

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Endings & Beginnings

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As the year ends, there’s plenty to be thankful for.

Family.

Friends.

The many things that bring us joy.

As we say goodbye to 2018, let’s begin 2019 on a positive note. Let’s promote positive changes within ourselves, within each other. Let’s fight for the marginalized. Let’s fight for the underdog. Let’s help those in need.

Start something new this year. Pick up a hobby. Learn a skill. Let’s start something new, shall we?

Here’s to 2019, the hope it brings and with it, the dreams you’ve dreamed.