Since surviving COVID-19 in March 2020, Atlanta psychologist Tony Levitas remains very grateful to be alive.
“Mostly, I’m good, with only a few lingering symptoms,” Levitas told the AJT. “And I can do just about anything I want to do. In the hospital, they told me I was a goner and didn’t expect to see me survive. My blood pressure dropped to 80/40. My will to survive and live were strong and the need to see my loved ones fueled my fight to get out of the hospital and come home.”
A talented songwriter and musician, Levitas says, “I started writing an album actually in the hospital, with the first song titled ‘Not My Time To Die.’ Over the next two years I began writing a number of songs, and there was a flourish of creative output. My very talented and good friend Eytan Davidson, played on this album with me, and he produced the album. He is also a new regional director of ADL. The title of the album is ‘Post Dystopian Love Songs.’ This title may have been a bit naive and premature, as the day the album was released, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.”
The songs on his new album, Levitas says, “are an attempt to hold out hope for a better time. I know surviving COVID has helped me to appreciate the fragility of life. These ideas of the importance of love, staying in the light, not letting one’s thoughts go to the dark side and expressing gratitude are a part of the sentiment I’ve tried to convey in this album.”
“The Shape of My Soul,” for example, is about Levitas’s fight to survive and get back home to his partner, Renee, who saved his life by getting him to the hospital when she did, otherwise he is sure he wouldn’t have made it. “Just hearing her voice in my head and those of my loved ones helped me have the will to fight,” he says.
One of the worst parts about being in the hospital for him “was not being allowed to have any visitors. There were many hours of just lying in a hospital bed alone. I quickly became aware that if I let my thoughts go dark, it would be miserable. So, I came up with the three P’s: to try and stay positive, patient and present. This really helped me to stay in the light, and I have shared this with my patients since, who seem to appreciate this. Many of them have overflowing anxiety and depression, not just from COVID, but from the last six years of political upheaval and division. I’ve seen this dynamic tear families and marriages apart.”
While COVID has certainly impacted his life, Levitas is taking his own advice and turning his lessons into music to inspire others to forge ahead in spite of circumstances. He imparts these ideas to the patients he counsels every day in his work as a psychologist.
“I’m still trying to come to grips with the trauma of surviving COVID and the turmoil in our world,” Levitas says. “I will always hold out hope for a better time and cherish those I love and try to be grateful every day for what I have.”
Levitas’s newest album was released on all major music streaming platforms Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Music or it is available at: tinyurl.com/Levitas-album