Trauma and recovery cracked ‘Wide Open’ in new memoir by B.C. author

B.C. author D.M. Ditson writes about assault and the journey to recovery

Wide Open is a memoir that tackles one woman’s journey through sexual assault and recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder.

B.C. author D.M. Ditson shared a little about her journey, her book, and what she hopes to achieve through the telling of her story. Wide Open is a raw and emotional account of how she became vulnerable to assault, the depths to which she fell, and of her excruciating recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder.

During her darkest days, Ditson searched for stories of people who had gone through something similar and made it out the other side. She found memoirs of survivors who wrote about what happened, but not how they found normalcy and healing in their life again.

“I wanted to see somebody else’s map of how they got better so I could know that I could get better too. And that’s what I ended up writing,” she says.

The story chronicles her journey to recovery. Once she started to work on getting better, she felt she had no choice but to push through.

“I was in dreadful, dreadful shape,” she recalls. When she began to focus on healing her mental state, her body reacted in strange and disruptive ways, such as uncontrollable shaking legs every single day for more than three years.

“There were some nights where it lasted forever, where I don’t even know if I even slept at all,” Ditson recalls.

Ditson ended up quitting her job and spent 14 months doing nothing but focusing on her recovery.

“I remember going to my therapist and asking, ‘why aren’t I better yet? Why is this taking so long? Why is all this weird stuff happening to me’?,” Ditson recounts. “She told me there’s no timeline on how long it takes. It just takes as long as it takes.”

She found meditation helpful, as well as writing. She wrote the book while she was in the process of healing. Earlier on, before she worked out her recovery, she would write about the assaults, then destroy the pages. One time, she tried flushing her diary entries into the toilet. Another time, she burned and buried them in the backyard.

“It was all these secrets I was trying to keep even from myself. And the more I kept them from myself, the more it made me unwell,” she explains.

Part of her healing process was taking these secrets and letting them out. She shared with a few people and found in their response a compassion and empathy she had not expected. That was a pivotal moment for Ditson as she worked to heal.

“I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to sit down and I’m going to write more of this. I’m going to let more of my secrets out, because apparently they’re not so dark that they’re going to make everyone hate me’.”

Ditson wrote the book to document her own recovery, and to hopefully help others. She wants survivors, loved ones of survivors, and anyone struggling with mental health to read it and see there is hope.

“It’s so difficult to get better. I just wanted to show that ‘yes, you can’,” she explains. “I hope it helps people see each other with more empathy.”

After the sexual assaults, trauma, and lengthy recovery process, Ditson has come out the other side. She feels whole, healed, and happy now, adding it is important that people know that full recovery is possible.

“People who haven’t gone through this kind of upheaval don’t necessarily live their life specifically by design. And in having exploded my previous life, I got to choose exactly what I wanted in my new one,” she says.

Ditson shares a story of the moment she realized she was healed, when this chapter of her life could close. It was a year and a half ago. She was staying in Fernie and desperately wanted to climb a mountain. The first time she tried, she was turned back by a park ranger who said the trail was decommissioned. She tried again, this time urged to turn back by another person who said the trail ahead was too hard. Finally on the third attempt, she got three quarters of the way up before encountering a young man coming down the mountain. He told her it was so treacherous, he turned back just shy of the summit.

But she kept climbing. She had to reach the peak of the mountain this time.

“It was steep, and super hard. By the end I started rock climbing,” she says. But, she finally reached the top.

“It felt then like I was on the other side (of my recovery),” she said. She surveyed the view: stretched out before her was a picture of spring – everything was new and fresh, a totally separate season than the summery mountain behind her. And she knew then. She was healed.

It has been five years since Ms. Ditson started writing her memoir. It is available for pre-sale now. For more details, visit dmditson.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

Potholes in Vanderhoof recurring due to weather, says district office

Potholes in Vanderhoof are being fixed, but ‘northern winter weather’ is the… Continue reading

Northern Health recommends self-quarantine for people returning from Hubei

The healthcare provider said it isn’t neccessary for healthy children to wear face masks

Wet’suwet’en return to camps near Houston, Coastal GasLink workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Still no contract for Canada Post workers

Vanderhoof postal workers will wear black every Friday to raise awareness about their situation

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Nanaimo man wins lotto, plans to buy $16,000 fridge

Curtis Wright a winner in Lotto 6/49 draw

Most Read