I remember when I was very small, my great-grandmother\'s best friend nicknamed me, "Miss Stuck-up", because I was quite shy . That memory came back to me when a friend of mine explained to me that in HS, I was perceived as being stuck-up because I didn\'t talk a lot or whatever. The fact that I usually had this serious look on my face didn\'t help much neither. I was seen as someone who was unapproachable. What people didn\'t know; what people don\'t know and at the time, what I didn\'t know is that I was/am dealing with SAD. They didn\'t know that, when the teacher asked the class a question that I knew the answer to, the butterflies in my stomach would cause my heart to flutter, compelling me to remain silent, with hands down because if I raised my hand, everyone\'s attention would be on me. I think about those situations and, although I had an almost 4.0 GPA, I wonder if I could I have done much better if I didn\'t have SAD and was more outgoing. I did have friends in HS, but because I come from such a small town in MS, I was around these people for most of my adolescent years and so I was very comfortable with them.


Going on to college, it was quite difficult for me to make new friends.I really can\'t say that I tried. I depended on people to approach me first. I was a thousand miles away from home and felt every bit of it. Beyond my roommate, I barely interacted with anyone else on campus. I didn\'t have a clique or anyone to hang out with. When I would go to the dining hall to eat lunch, I sat at a table, alone. There was a gas station up the street from the school that I would go to to buy gas. I became friends with the cashier and would often go to the store to chat with him for several hours. His name was Marvin and he was from Honduras. At the time, his English wasn\'t very good and that\'s why, I believe, I was so comfortable around him.


While I attended school, I was also a military reservist. After 9/11 I was called to active duty and had to come immediately to my duty station in Miami. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a familiar face: someone that I went to HS with was also assigned to this duty station. I hung out with him most of the time and I was quite comfortable around him. After a while, word got around the office that I was a racist because I only talked to this one guy, who happened to be Black. Before coming to Miami, I had never, really, experienced people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, so naturally, I gravitated towards what was most familiar to me. I must admit that I was very hurt and felt that I couldn\'t explain my actions to anyone.


My life is filled with the aforementioned situations, or those like them. I don\'t think that anyone, who hasn\'t dealt with SAD, can truly understand how it feels to be in this shell. They often develop perceptions about people with SAD without really knowing what\'s going on on the inside. Their perceptions are misconceptions.




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