Can You Hear Me

Can You Hear Me? Part I

Dear (Principal) Boss,

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

In the letters I will share with you, I tried to come from the angle of empathy and put myself in the other person’s shoes as much as I was able while providing advice for them. I will admit there are still strong emotions which come through.

Dear (Principal) Boss,

I know it is hard to be in a position of authority. Especially when you are in charge of your peers. It is why I give you grace. I know you did not intentionally mean to make my life harder by “writing me up” and constantly checking in on me.

You felt you were doing your job. I can appreciate this, but I would ask you to consider a few things for next time you encounter someone facing the obstacle of trauma in their life.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, anxiety, and other conditions can arise in a person affected by trauma, and this affects our entire life, even work. It’s a disability and cannot be helped.

Those of us facing trauma who have these conditions need grace. I needed to be able to take some time off of work without being called at home about worries or concerns happening while I was gone from my job.

A person with trauma has a full brain, and they need time to work through their trauma and there is no room for anything else. Whatever else comes our way simply overflows from the brain and sends us into great anxiety and deeper depression. Please keep this in mind when people like me take a leave of absence.

When we return to our job please provide a grace period to readjust to conditions. Any training which may need to occur needs to wait a few weeks until we get our “sea legs” back.

It is overwhelming to come back to piles of work, and the needs of a job.  Adding something new will simply overflow our sensitive brains, which is still plagued by PTSD, depression and anxiety.

Yes, we may be back, but it takes time to heal these conditions, sometimes a lifetime. So, when working with someone with a disability, please accommodate our needs as the American’s with Disabilities Act will allow.

Your support, professionalism, encouragement, and discretion of people’s conditions has the ability to make or break their career. They want and possibly love their jobs and need your support.

I know I chose teaching so I could impact the lives of the future. You have the ability to do the same. Thank you for choosing to believe in us and our ability to do our job.

Your Former Teacher,


Do you have a former boss to write to? A job experience gone sour? Possibly share it on paper or with a close friend or therapist. If you don’t like to write, record yourself on your phone and play it back a few times. I found after reading my letters several times, the anger lost power.

© 2018 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.


1 comment on “Can You Hear Me? Part I

  1. Some great practical tips here. Thanks for educating all of us about PTSD.

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