An Osoyoos woman, Bonnie Dust, has released a book telling of her lifetime struggle to cope with the impact of childhood trauma.
“It’s a Long and Winding Road: Finding Peace After My Struggle with Childhood Trauma” is a personal account of her mental health problems and a psychiatric system too eager to prescribe high doses of stupefying medications.
On the surface, Dust, now 71, appeared to have a normal childhood. She grew up on a farm near Osoyoos, British Columbia in the 1950s and 1960s. She rode horses and excelled in school and Girl Guides.
But for years she kept a secret about her encounters as a young child with an older man who lived nearby – encounters that left her traumatized.
As a young adult, her behaviour led to a series of misdiagnoses – hyperthyroidism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Heavily medicated and treated with electric shocks, she was in and out of psychiatric wards, which only seemed to make her condition worse.
It was not until she was in her mid-30s that she began to understand the connection between childhood trauma and what she was experiencing as an adult. At the time, there was not a wide understanding of what is now called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In the years that followed, she learned to become her own advocate, to gather information and to take charge of her own treatment. Although she may never completely overcome her childhood trauma, she tells of her self-discovery and finding peace with herself.
The 110-page book was “soft launched” at the beginning of March, but a formal launch was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been available since soft launch internationally as an ebook in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and other formats.
It is now available as a paperback in Osoyoos and through print-on-demand internationally.
Dust says the idea for the book came to her in a dream in 1996 as she was participating in a program counselling adult women survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
“I had a very clear dream,” Dust said. “I dreamt about writing this book. People were allowing me to tell my story for the first time.”
More than 20 years later, she had pieced together a handwritten manuscript, drawn from the diaries she meticulously kept since her early teens.
Dust then hired Richard McGuire, the former editor of the Osoyoos Times, to help her turn it into a book.
“Bonnie’s book touches on some sensitive issues – pedophilia and childhood abuse, post-traumatic stress, mental illness and the failures of the psychiatric system,” said McGuire. “These are more common than people realize, but stigma and shame have silenced public discussion of both the impact that sexual predators have on their victims and about mental health in general.”
McGuire said he used light editing so that the book is mostly in Dust’s own words.
“This is her very personal story,” he said.
Paperback copies of Bonnie Dust’s book are now on sale for $15 at the Osoyoos Times and Oliver Chronicle offices (now Times-Chronicle)
Bonnie Dust’s book is available as an ebook from the following locations:
The book is available in paperback in Canada by mail. For information, please use the Contact page on this website to contact Richard McGuire.
Please also watch this space for other retailers in Osoyoos and Oliver who sell this book. Retailers wishing to carry this book can use the Contact page to reach Richard McGuire.
It’s also available internationally in paperback by print-on-demand through the following: