Join us for an evening with Alabama author Caleb Woods! Caleb will discuss his struggles with mental illness and what it was like to grow up gay in the Bible Belt. He will also read from his book Harnessing Darkness: Expressing Mental Illness Through Poetry. Afterward, there will be a book signing. Be sure to make plans to attend this event and don’t forget to pick up your copy of this thought-provoking book that dives deep into the raw emotion that someone with mental illness experiences on a daily basis.
Caleb Woods began writing at a young age, first to cope with bullying at school and later to soothe his depressing thoughts. Growing up in the small town of Pisgah, Alabama, he was surrounded by religion and found it increasingly difficult to reconcile his faith with his sexual orientation. Caleb was told he would spend an eternity in hell for being gay – and he believed it. He was first officially diagnosed with PTSD in high school after his closest friend died unexpectedly. He moved away to college but ignored his symptoms and didn’t seek help for his mental illness. After years of suffering silently, he began to accept his sexual orientation and eventually met his now husband, Luke. Despite a happy marriage, Caleb continued to suffer with symptoms of PTSD. At their peak, the night terrors and panic attacks finally drove him to seek professional help. Today, Caleb receives treatment for PTSD, panic disorder, and depression by attending reoccurring therapy sessions. Throughout these years, Caleb wrote poetry about his specific struggles surrounding mental illness and growing up gay in the Bible Belt. In his debut book, “Harnessing Darkness: Expressing Mental Illness Through Poetry,” he reveals his most personal thoughts – some dark, some light, some suffering, some uplifting, but all existential. Currently, Caleb lives with his husband in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a full-time writer, author, and poet.