Trauma and recovery cracked ‘Wide Open’ in new memoir by Canadian author

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.

Just Posted

Alberta RCMP offers tips for water safety this summer

Since 2016, 57 people have drowned in Alberta

‘Alberta Long Ears’ in Stettler Aug. 10th-11th.

Established in 1989, the Alberta Donkey & Mule Club is an offshoot of the national organization

Communities in Bloom judges check out Stettler’s finest features

National and International results will be announced in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in September

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Alberta Prairie Railways marks 30 unforgettable in the biz

Tickets purchased this year go to a special ‘luxury’ train ride for 30 guests

VIDEO: Calgary, Flames agree to terms on new NHL arena

The proposed 19,000-seat facility would replace the Saddledome at an estimated cost of $550 million

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Alberta ahead of average tornado count at 17 so far this year

The province’s average over the past 30 years has been 12 tornadoes per year

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read