Omg do I have dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is, from what I understand, sort of like dyslexia but with numbers. Numbers get jumbled up and the person has a hard time remembering formulas and numbers.

I’ve always been pretty bad at maths – I used to instantly forget formulas, get easy number problems wrong, and the only tests I’ve ever failed have been math ones. I honestly google how to do percentages all the time. I don’t like telling analogue time. That’s always sort of bothered me because it is pretty normal to be able to read a clock, and also not to make silly mistakes like saying 5 x 2 = 12 during an equation, which I’ve done things like that before. I don’t know if it’s because I lack confidence in my maths skills or because I actually have a problem. On the other hand, I do understand budgets, remember the times table and can calculate easy discounts.

Apparently these are the symptoms:


  • Buying things with cash can be nerve wracking experience

Hmm.. not nerve wracking but I put my trust in the cashier to give me the correct change. I can calculate the dollars but not the cents but thats because I don’t try.

  • Working out tips, tax and percentages take a huge amount of energy and time

YES. I struggle work out my tax, even though I basically know it’s like income minus expenses, and then a percentage of that. I just can’t get it together, I’m always miscalculating something. I also rarely work out percentages that aren’t 10%, 25% or 50% – I google the answer.

  • Needing GPS despite going to the same place many times

Apparently bad direction skills are a symptom? But YES. I have been going to a meeting in the same place for nearly a year every 2 weeks and I use my maps every time although it’s like 10 mins away from my house. I forget where I park A LOT, and have no sense of direction. I always need Google Maps guiding the way.

  • Good at some maths and bad at others

Definitely. Budgeting is fine, not that I have ever stuck to one properly or tried to live on one. I just spend as I assess it, no numbers in my head and I don’t even know how people remember?? If you told me that I only had $100 for the week, I’d remember the $100 but wouldn’t be able to remember the purchases I made. I hate spreadsheets. However, I am very good at remembering number plates.

  • Late to appointments

Ew, no. I’m never late. On time is late for me, I’m always early. It’s like the opposite – once Iwent to my pole fitness class an hour early, despite catching myself before I left the house the week before 🙁

  • Can’t remember names even though you’ve been told them multiple times

Not really, unless I’ve been dealing with heaps of strangers through email and I’m getting people mixed up on the initial meeting.

  • Drive too slow or fast, or vastly misjudge how long it takes to get there

Well… I don’t think I drive noticeably too fast or slow, but I just tack on time to what Maps tells me how long it’ll take. I’m never late because I trust Maps.

  • Lose items around the house easily

The opposite – I’m pretty good at remembering where I left stuff, which is why I have little motivation to clean my room and put ‘everything in it’s place’ when I remember where everything is.

  • Any facts with numbers can be very hard to remember

Yes and no. I constantly get the date wrong when planning things, e.g. the event is on Sat 4 September and I’ve written Sat 5 September in places. I remember the day but not the number. I’ve even had an instance where I couldn’t tell the difference between two numbers, for example 11238 and 11328, and emailed an accountant freaking out because there couldn’t be duplicates. I can remember birthdays of people close to me though, and prices of things very well.

  • Writing down and remembering phone numbers can be very tricky

Well I used to have a job where I literally asked people for their numbers all day, so I am pretty good at noting down phone numbers (sometimes) since I’ve had so much practise. I do replay voice messages where they’ve left numbers down though, but I think that’s normal (right?).

  • Can’t remember dance steps

What if the reason I suck at pole… is because I have dyscalculia (and not because I’m not strong enough or practise)??

  • Slow to tell the time on analogue clock or work out 24 hr time

Yes. Although my parents scarred me from telling analogue time – I needed glasses at the time when I was learning how to, and my Asian parents were in massive denial about it because they didn’t want me to have them. Like constantly bagged on people who wore glasses, and acted like it was a disease you didn’t want to catch. They knew I needed glasses because I was always squinting, and they would also always ask me to tell the time when I was far away from the clock.

I wouldn’t be able to see it and I would get in trouble. As a result, I would sit near the clock in case they asked me and I would be able to see it up close. Whenever I look at an analogue clock, I remember my anxiety and fear around it, and the disappointment and disgust from my parents. Now that I’m older I think it’s so fucked up, who tortures and blames their kid for needing glasses, and deprives them from glasses and seeing properly for so long. I cried so much when my parents finally admitted that I needed them, I felt so ashamed as they were so disappointed. Fuck, it’s not like I wanted to wear glasses either!! And this is just an instance in a long list for why I don’t trust my parents.

So I don’t know if it’s because I have that little childhood trauma associated with it that makes me struggle with it. I do genuinely find it hard, which is why I would never buy a non-digital watch. I also get my 24 hr time mixed up constantly – I once could’ve missed a connecting flight because I thought 22:00 was 11:00pm when it’s actually 10:00pm. The universe helped me out, by sitting next to the one of the only Kiwis on that flight who was taking the same flight path back to NZ as me, and we started talking about our journeys.

Although I’m not hopeless with numbers, I do feel that I am worse at numbers than others not because I don’t understand how to do it, but because I constantly forget and get the numbers mixed up.

I wonder if there is a way to formally test for it, or to get a little diagnosis- I’ve always known I am not good with numbers. But is it just that? I think if it was it would feel like a relief if I knew that I couldn’t help it. But on the other hand, it doesn’t affect my life majorly, I can definitely function and most of my friends and people I’ve worked with actually think I’m good at maths.

I will remember this post if I ever find a way to test for it.

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