Harnessing Darkness in a Pandemic


On my 30th birthday, my book was published online. I had a dream come true and checked something off my bucket list. My book was published and I had wonderful speaking/signing opportunities due to my husband’s then-traveling job.

This was July 2019. 8 months later the pandemic started and I simultaneously lost my writing job. So many were/are affected by the pandemic. Lost family. Lost friends. Lost jobs. Lost time. Lost dreams.

I was vulnerable and shared my truth. Then I felt like it was taken away. How was I supposed to promote a book about mental illness and depression during a pandemic when so many were hurting? My book does have hopeful moments, but many of you know the poetry discusses dealing with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, etc.

So I decided to stop. I halted everything. I stopped uploading on my site, on my FB page. But slowly I’d receive a review, message, or note here and there from people I both knew and didn’t know who reached out to tell me that my book helped them. As kind as the words were, I couldn’t help but still feel devastated.

I hope this doesn’t come across as “poor me.” This is my story. I’m sharing again. I’ve had a therapist I’ve never met purchase 20+ books to share with clients to help them determine how they’re feeling or which passages they relate to.

So maybe, just maybe…. I can still make a difference. Over the past week, I’ve had a few people tell me they’ve read some of my book and watched my YouTube video where I spoke at the college I attended – UNA.

So this is me saying to those suffering – perhaps you might want to surround yourself with popcorn television and books. I totally respect that. But if you’re feeling down. If you struggle with anxiety or depression. If the pandemic has you questioning your mental state. If you think hearing/reading someone’s story may help, I’m sharing my information again. I’m leaving links to my book and my YouTube video in the comments.

*******If you would like a signed copy, please direct message me! Thank you!*******

Please feel free to share. Perhaps we all need to know we’re not alone and if I can continue to help someone better understand their own feelings, maybe they can make progress and find some healing.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me. The kind reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and elsewhere. Thanks for the love. It truly means so much to me.


Touching Lives


Back in February, I received a kind message from a mom who lives in Florida. She proceeded to tell me that she read my book and was deeply touched. It was wonderful to hear how much she appreciated my book. She also informed me that she shared it with her children to teach them about mental illness. She shared this photo with me and it almost had me in tears.


My main goal when I first put my book out into the world was to try and help end the stigma regarding mental illness. There are a variety of mental health issues that people of all ages struggle with. It’s so important to share our experiences so others can learn from them.

Share. Listen. Learn. Love.

The LOST 10th Anniversary


The LOST finale aired 10 years ago on May 23, 2010. It remains, 10 years later, the most beautiful piece of television that I’ve ever seen. It is pure art. Most of you know by now that LOST has impacted my life in a variety of ways. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet countless creators, actors, and actresses from the show. I have plenty of memorabilia and goodies from the show, Juliet remains my favorite character of all-time, Damon Lindelof has deemed me an official “castaway,” and I’ve visited countless filming locations of the show – even getting married at the LOSTie campsite.

LOST doesn’t spoon-feed you. The show wants you to ask questions such as Why are we here? What is our purpose? Can we let go of our past? How does faith play a part in our lives? How does science play a part in our lives? Do we have a destiny or a fate? What happens when you die? What is the point of it all?

LOST is about connection, the love we have for one another. Can we forgive? Can we begin to understand others? What do we owe to each other? It’s the year 2020 and the meaning of LOST is more relevant that ever. We’re all currently strangers in a strange land.

Living together means taking care of your neighbors. It means putting aside greed and selfishness. There’s so many people in our population who are hurting. The poor. The homeless. Minorities. There’s hate everywhere you turn – discrimination in the workplace, the lack of protections for essential workers, laws trying to be passed that harm minorities. Evil is real and it’s out there. Take a look at the news and you’ll find instances of bigotry, discrimination, and murder.

So, what is asked of us now? As we navigate this difficult and new landscape, our priorities shift. Does hair color matter? Do you need that new pair of shoes? Why isn’t your place of work offering protective gear for you? Why do we complain that the unemployed are receiving money when we should be talking about how shameful it is for companies to not pay people living wages? Our country is shook – people are suddenly realizing the evil that lurks all around us. While there’s much that needs to be changed in our society (media reform, schools, prisons, and so much more), right now we all have one thing in common – surviving.

As we know, the characters in LOST change over time. Some find redemption, while others do not. This is life. I’ve never been that fond of the character of Sawyer due to his “Every man for himself” philosophy. Right now, in 2020, this philosophy leads to death. It’s murder. By refusing to wear a mask or refusing to social distance, you’re not loving your neighbor. You’re not putting yourself above others – and guess what? It’s senseless. How entitled, greedy, and hateful do you have to be to simply walk into a store, refusing to wear a mask? You say you love others. You say you love your family. You want to have friends. You want to keep your kids safe. You want to be loved. BUT – you won’t wear a mask because it causes a minor inconvenience? Shame on you.

Jack was right when he said, “If we can’t live together, we’re going to die alone.” With countless deaths occurring over the past few months, and many sick patients indeed dying alone without their family in the room with them, it’s difficult to fathom that some people still refuse to wear masks.

I adore LOST and always will. However, as I’ve said before, fandom means nothing if you don’t apply the lessons you learn to your real life. We can re-watch LOST, re-read The Hunger Games, and enjoy various media all we want and that’s great. While there are some media that’s simply for entertainment, others aren’t. Others ask you to go out and live better lives, take a stand against an injustice, and more.

My wish is for you to not be lost any longer. Find yourself. Find who you are. Work each day to become the person you want to be. I know a thing or two about wearing masks – and trust me, a piece of cloth that covers your mouth and nose doesn’t even count as an inconvenience in my book.

The LOST finale aired 10 years ago on May 23, 2010 and as Juliet wisely said, “It doesn’t matter who we were. It only matters who we are.” I’m a completely different person than I was 10 years ago. Aren’t we all? We’ve all changed – hopefully for the better. Our world faces a pandemic and its once again time to change. The truth? We don’t have another 10 years to do it. It’s time to look inward, take notes, and truly examine the world we live in, the world we wish for, and the world we want to leave behind.

“The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone…you needed all of them and they needed you.”

If you’ve never seen this show, didn’t understand it the first time you watched it, or simply want to visit the island again, now is the time. 10 years later, LOST remains extremely important when it comes to pop culture. It’s currently on Hulu for those of you who are interested.

In honor of the 10-year anniversary, I’m sharing this LOST scene reenactment that my husband and I created when we were in Oahu in 2017.


Who I Am


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.


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


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!


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.


Harnessing Darkness: Expressing Mental Illness Through Poetry


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!


Dark Phoenix


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.


Endings & Beginnings


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



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.