Hi, I found this site after taking a break from my chemistry homework. I am an older student (50) back in school full time. I am not sure that I am dealing with dyscalculia, but I sure am dealing with SOMETHING and have been all my life. I was tested at the university's psych dept. but they attributed my math meltdowns to severe anxiety and gave me double time to take all my science/math related tests. Due to all the history I gave them, I think that is what they wanted to see. Having meltdowns during the math potions probably didn't help. The weird thing about math is that when I DO know what to do and get the problem right, I enjoy it.
I read through the symptoms and am not really sure many of them fit. But here are some of the things that I have noticed just this week. In chemistry there was a "dry lab" where we had to look at particular measuring devices and tell to what decimal place it was accurate. My very patient lab partner tried to explain it to me, but I still could not explain it to someone, even though I can measure accurately.
In word problems there are many ways that they can ask you for information. Most of it requires understanding what you are starting with and where you need to end up, as well as, ratios, percents, and % mass. I am getting them all wrong. I usually just start playing with the numbers and hope that they will lead me to the logic.
On my math exam I frequently get easy "obvious" things wrong - like, I won't recognize an obvious fact or relationship or something. It takes me HOURS and HOURS to do my math and chemistry homework. I actually had an "A" going into a precalculus and made a bunch of stupid mistakes and ended with a B+. My math teacher was amused that I "got all the hard problems right and the easy ones wrong". I realize that many people would be happy with a B+ and think I am being whiney, but I am a premed student and the competition requires as close to a 3.9 GPA as I can be.
It just seems like there is some kind of "logic blind" in my brain. It is soooo frustrating and I am reduced to tears often - especially if someone is trying to explain things to me and I am not understanding. Most people do not know how to help. Anyway, sorry this is so long. I just don't know if it really IS just PTSD like they say or if there is something else. My step-father was a pretty insane and malicious man and he seemed to enjoy making my life hell and my math homework provided him with a "reason" to be mean (but my question is "was I having problems with math and he took the opportunity to make my life hell or was his interference that caused my problems" ) I was in 2nd or 3rd grade when it all started. I am looking for a hypnotist to see if that will help. Anyway, thanks for "listening". Even if I don't exactly fit the definition of dyscalculia, perhaps I may find some coping strategies that will help me get through this semester and on.
Edited by Mystyeyed on February 12 2012 05:10 AM
Location: Australia Posts: 1266 Joined: 2005-03-20
Hi Mysty and welcome here,
It could be math anxiety and PTSD that you have?
The critical impact relates to math being a sequential thinking process. Where the anxiety/ PTSD simply has to briefly enter the mind during the math calculation, to completely disrupt the flow of thought.
So that the calculation then has to be recommenced.
But the previous disruption is then often briefly recalled, which disrupts the calculation again.
So that it has an exponential effect, which reinforces the anxiety/ disruption.
The main technique used to address PTSD, is cognitive behavioural therapy CBT.
Where CBT takes the position that Trauma creates what is termed as a 'mental script', which is recalled whenever one encounters the same or similar situation.
So that the basic approach, is to over write the mental script, with a new mental script.
So that the old script is no longer recalled.
You wrote that you are looking for a hypnotist to see if that will help?
A hypnotist would probably cost a lot less than a psychologist, and
could be just as effective?
Where if you look at from the perspective of developing a new mental script?
Doing math exercises while in a relaxed hypnotic state, could be very effective in developing a new mental script?
Thanks for your response eoffg. I don't know what to say. I am pretty near tears today because I am having so many difficulties and it just seems that this is not a big deal to most people, but it is potentially going to crush my ability to follow a path that my heart is set on. I have spent a LOT of time changing my attitude about math. I avoided it for years and when finally forced to confront it, I hated the idea of needed to take math for my degree. My chiropractor suggested a thought that I really pondered and "ran" with. I decided to challenge myself to see how many different things that I could find that were positive about math. I came up with some ideas that have been very helpful in some ways: 1) "math", in school at least, is not really about the "math" but rather to teach you how to think. Most of the time there is more that one way to do a problem. It teaches you to look at "problems" from different angles to find solutions. This is a valuable skill in life, not just in math class. 2) I like doing puzzles, and math problems are just puzzles that can have practical applications. I know I had found others but I am too upset right now to remember them. One of the members of this group said that really resonated with me. She said that even if she had just seen a problem a short time ago, if she tried to do another problem like it, it was like it was new all over again and that if feels like you are just constantly starting over. I have felt like this and if anxiety is the cause, then perhaps that is good news, because it is probably easier to deal with anxiety than an organic brain issue. Anyway, I guess perhaps I don't really fit in here, so probably wont post again. I am going to lurk though, perhaps I can find some helpful strategies.