My story about mental health

I was the TV media librarian for CBC North, based in Yellowknife, and responsible for all 3 arctic territories, from 2002 to 2014, when I retired and returned to Toronto.

My everyday job was to edit and archive TV film footage for stock, and to catalogue reporters’ daily news items. I loved my job and was enthusiastic and proud to add to the history of the Canadian arctic and of CBC North. Also I was eager to highlight Indigenous cultural and political issues in Yukon, NWT and Nunavut. I heard indigenous languages at work every day, and learned more from the people I worked with and met, than I ever did, from history books.

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set into motion, I was excited to see that Marie Wilson, former CBC North reporter and Regional Director, was one of the Commissioners. Personally, I have an “Indigenous connection” through my late husband and his Alberta Cree family, all of whom were sent to residential schools. All my in-laws suffered intergenerational trauma and a loss of culture and language. I anticipated the TRC process would be an important event in Canadian history, and to moving forward with Nation to Nation relations.

At CBC North I spent several years cataloguing the heart-breaking TRC statements – often word for word – of survivors, who courageously spoke of their horrendous experiences. It was a very important & necessary job.

I did not complain. However I suffered depression, insomnia and other problems during those years. Shortly after I retired, my trauma increased. I sought therapy and was diagnosed with PTSD. To this day I am triggered by mention of residential school stories, and any TRC reports or documentaries, or talk of the Calls to Action. I am often unable to handle hearing TRC testimonies, even as an ally. I continue in therapy. My grown daughter is very involved in the Indigenous community in Toronto; sadly because of my PTSD I’m often unable to attend ceremonies or other events she leads or organises.

It reminds me how important our mental health is to a good life.

Marita Hollo
CBC Pensioner, Toronto
April 10, 2019