Recently, I interviewed Leonardo Antony Nodo about his new book, INTRUSIVE MEMORY…
1. What is INTRUSIVE MEMORY about?
Intrusive Memory is the true story of how I accomplished my dream of becoming a physician despite suffering from a severe case of cPTSD, a disease that I have struggled with since age 13 due to my severely abusive childhood.
2. What made you decide to write it?
Writing Intrusive Memory was a form of self-counseling that I undertook during medical school due to my inability to tolerate traditional counseling. I was a victim of Munchausen’s-In-Proxy abuse as a child that involved psychiatrists and psychologists and this made seeking traditional treatment challenging for me.
3. How did writing affect your own personal journey through trauma recovery?
It was extremly helpful and my symptoms improved greatly afterwards. However, it was also extremely difficult and I would not recommend undertaking the same self-counseling without the guidance of a behavioral health specialist. I was a rather unique case due to my Munchausen’s issues and I am of the professional opinion that most people would do better with professional guidance to assist them in the process. With that said, I also am of the opinion that writing about your traumas is one of the more potent weapons in our arsenal to use against PTSD.
4. You overcame cPTSD — define what recovery means to you.
I overcame it to a large degree, but that was after the time period covered in this book. The book is actually about succeeding in spite of having a raging mental disorder, which is exactly what I had at the time. It is also about my journey to get a proper diagnosis, which was no small accomplishment and took years.
5. What were some things that helped you most to achieve healing?
Well, the writing certainly helped and finally getting a proper diagnosis helped even more. I have a really severe case of cPTSD, which I know because when I was an Army physician I worked with 5-6 different ‘PTSDers’ as my patients every single day, which is probably more than most psychiatrists see in a month (I was a battalion surgeon, which is a sexy Army name for a general practitioner). My symptoms are largely a minor nuisance now most of the time, but I do still take an SSRI and a small dose of Remeron at night, both of which help a lot. I also keep myself in shape and make sure to devote time everyday to relaxing hobbies, which for me means playing with my dog and playing my guitar.
6. What piece of advice would you offer someone walking the same path?
The most important advice is to find a psychiatrist/psychologist who knows what the heck they are doing. The overwhelming majority of behavorial health specialists do not deal with PTSD very often, especially cPTSD which can be a very different animal than aPTSD in my experience. If you’re getting different diagnoses from everyone you see, look into Dr. Amen’s clinic in Southern California where they do functional brain imaging that can clear up the debate (I’ve sent a patient to the Amen clinic who had been given literally just about every diagnosis in the DSM IV — it was very helpful and I was right, the guy had classic cPTSD on the scan).
Leonardo Noto, DO
Also on Twitter @DrLeonardoNoto
Tags: ptsd, trauma recovery