- Maths phobic
- October 5th, 2006
I have dyscalculia. It's something I've only recently discovered, inasmuch as there's a name for it. But it's a label for something that I've had pretty much all my life and I just thought I was thick!
Basically I'm numbers dyslexic.
It means that I find even simple arithmetic incredibly difficult. It means that I can be taught one day how to do something and then an hour later I have totally and utterly forgotten how to do that same thing. It means that stuff like - oh, I don't know - working out what my x% pay rise is is just bamboozles me. Stuff like reading a recipe designed for 4 and then trying to work out how to half the quantities is an absolute nightmare (I had to phone my dad at work the other day when I was trying to weigh out something and I couldn't figure out what number I should be aiming for when weighing out a half quantity).
Day to day living things like working adding up a small basket of shopping as I go round the shop, trying to work out if a journey takes me x length of time, what time will I have to leave at to get to my destination at a certain time - all of these are real challenges, guaranteed to make my brain freeze in protest.
And it doesn't mean that I can just whip out the calculator - part of the problem is that I don't know what I'm supposed to do with it!
I cannot remember what my monthly salary is supposed to be and have to get my pay slips checked to make sure everything's all in order. Don't ask me what my annual salary is - I looked this morning for something and now I can't remember.
You see how it's a bit of a nightmare at times!! I work round it as best I can (ie, I ask someone when I can!) but it's extremely frustrating. You don't realise how much you do need numbers when you can do it without thinking.
Anyway. A by-product of the dyscalculia is a finance-phobia. I don't mean that I don't like it to touch or look at, I mean that because I don't "get" what the numbers mean or I get the order of the numbers the wrong way round, financial management is an absolute freaking nightmare. Discussing finances brings on, I kid you not, full blown panic attacks.
And because I can't remember what I'm earning, or what's going out, when I look at my finances, I have no idea if it's good or bad for that point in the month. So I go through a phase of a couple of days at the start of the month where I'll spend with abandon, and then totally and utterly panic for the remaining 26 days that I've no money at all and I don't check because what's the point? I don't understand it anyway! And you've no idea how angry with myself I am at being so STUPID - 36 and own my own home, car etc and can't do simple arithmetic and simple financial management - and too scared to look because if I look then it really will be that bad and the house will be repossessed ...
So today is day 3 of the total and utter panic and it's no lie to say that I've not slept well or relaxed at all over the last few days because I knew I'd have to check my bank etc and see how things were. Anyway, to cut a long story short (which is what I should have done at the start of this) - yes, things are not great, but they're not anywhere near as bad as I had imagined (you know - mortgage defaulting, bills going unpaid etc). I think I've got enough to do me until next pay day.
I think. But I can't remember. So I'll just spend as little as I can just in case and just to be sure. Because I just can't tell.