An Open Letter to Survivors of a Pandemic The Great Divide
by Toni-Cara Stellitano LCSW – Commack, NY

There is nothing wrong with you for feeling afraid, anxious, depressed, depleted, lethargic, frustrated, lost, and confused. Your body is an organism in response to its environment, and our outside environment is in a state of chaos. Before you rush off to seek medication for soothing these feelings, remember that your body is having a natural response to the chronic stress that is happening in our world.

When chronic stress occurs in a body, the limbic system (that part of our brain that navigates emotion, memory, stress and behavior) acts on hyperdrive and compromises the brain’s ability to perform prefrontal cortex tasks (executive functioning) like focusing one’s attention, tying one’s shoes, and task completion.

Please go easy on yourselves during these trying times, there are many natural remedies that can be used to SUPPORT rather than medicate the body through this process of survival and recalibration. Eating more protein aids in dopamine production (dopamine is our reward feeling hormone) reducing sugars keeps inflammation down (inflammation triggers anxiety and a “raw nerves” feeling in the body). Hugging a loved one releases oxytocin (the love and bonding hormone) and creating art with your non-dominant hand, creates a pathway for stuck emotion that may be a root cause of your anxiety.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. Your body is brilliant and needs support. Step one is to acknowledge the immense amount of stress your body is under, to acknowledge the emotional impact of what is happening in our world as it pertains to the organism of your human body…without judgment.

This is the beginning of establishing a safe and authentic internal environment even when the outside environment is beyond logic and control.


Toni-Cara Stellitano, LCSW is an artist, Holistic Psychotherapist and trauma-informed creative arts practitioner. She specializes in body-based (non-medication) interventions to support the healing and wellness of women, children, and families.





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