Math has always been something I’ve struggled with. Many people struggle with math, but I knew there was something different about mine. I was slow to understand my multiplication facts in third grade. All my friends were surpassing me while I was still trying to get past threes. In high school, I managed to pass with C and D’s. Teachers thought I never applied myself, but I really tried. College is when it grew worse. After my third attempt of college algebra, I wanted to give up altogether. I didn’t realize the problem was much deeper than that.
I was diagnosed with a learning disability in math (sometimes referred as dyscalculia) this past April. I can’t even begin to explain how it feels to have it. Imagine if you will the lack basic computation skills that one needs on a day to day basis. These skills include counting back correct change, adding or subtracting a cost or trying to figure out what time you should leave to arrive somewhere on time. It’s an ongoing battle. The anxiety of wanting to have the correct answering, but not understanding how to get the correct answer.
When I first found out, I thought I was stupid. I thought that I would never be able to do math like everyone else. It would always take me longer to get the answer. Everyone was always two steps ahead of me when I hadn’t even taken mine.
“Your brain just works differently.” a friend of mine said.
Math may be a weakness of mine, but what I lack in one area I make up for in others. I used to look at math negatively. I hated how it made me feel. It made me feel incompetent. I have learned that in order for me to overcome such a difficulty, I have to see it in another frame of mind. The photo above is what I painted in a paint therapy class back in my hometown. I wanted to show people what it looks like in my head when I’m given a difficult math problem to solve. A jumble of math facts, operations and formulas appear and only one of them is correct. I know I can solve the problem when I put myself in the right frame of mind.