News Local/State

“That was the saddest moment of my life…being told I’m not capable of working.”


Robert Russell enlisted in the Army shortly after starting college at the University of Illinois in the late 1960’s because he needed the money. A few years later, when he was home on leave from Berlin, Germany, he met his wife Ann on a blind date. After just a few evenings together, they decided to marry, and have stayed married for the last 42 years. 

While Russell was in the Army, he served in the jungles of Vietnam. What he saw there changed him. After he returned home, like many who served in Vietnam, he started showing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was having flashbacks while at work.

As a part of our series, "Unmet Needs: living with mental illness in central Illinois," Robert talked with his wife, Ann about living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

When he was officially diagnosed, it was devastating for him, “I just sit by myself and read a book [now]. I don’t go out, there’s nothing to be happy for. That’s just the way it is.”

Ann, on the other hand, says his diagnosis was a relief.