Math Anxiety

Somehow, I guess by default over years of negative reinforcement, math completely stresses me out and makes me literally feel like I am standing on the edge of a cliff, unable to see a way up, and terrified to fall down. Down is where I must settle for not being as intelligent as I enjoy thinking I am. It is the realized sum (heh) of all my fears. I already realize I am no genius, no brilliant light in the world, but to be bested by decimals and rounding?! By fractions? I can forgive myself for not being able to understand each step in a complicated flow rate for IV meds calculation- it’s new to me. I don’t have a teacher. I have a book, and sample problems. I am supposed to be able to glean the gist of it all by looking at these, grasping the patterns, and duplicating them. I don’t need to understand the chemical make up of a particular IV drug, I just need to multiply and divide, convert measurements, etc. But it’s not easy for me, not at all. I would like to practice, but again- it would help if someone could explain the process to me so I will know the sequence of solving steps, each time.

I remember taking college algebra. I barely made it through. I struggled and struggled, each time feeling that panicky, claustrophobic feeling that made me sweat, my vision dim, and my stomach sink while simultaneously feeling awash in a confused fog so thick it almost seemed like a dream. The more I looked at the problem, the more it looked like a foreign language, a locked box, and insolvable riddle. Then came the hopeless, helpless feeling, the tears, the rage, and beating myself up for being such a disappointment to myself. I still struggle with anxiety attacks with math. I mean ATTACKS. Once they start, it becomes very hard to get out of them. I have to take a long break, get my mind into a better state. It hurts so much because I think SO hard, all for naught. It’s a vicious cycle because the more I fail to understand, the worse I feel about myself, and the worse I feel about myself, the harder it is to keep pressing forward, and to see the path to the answer. I like to imagine it’s like learning to swim, and I can only seem to focus on frantically splashing about to keep from sinking. But learning to swim involves learning to float- which as we all know comes from relaxing and going with the flow, not tiring yourself out beating the water. If only I could see the WAY when it comes to math. So concrete, so exacting, so unforgiving. Words are forgiving, words flow. Numbers strike terror in my heart. I need help. Musings on Math, and my pharmacy tech studies. (I have to nail this- it’s very important to myself and to the health of others!)


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