I hate numbers. They used to make sense to me, back in the days before fibromyalgia. Now? I really struggle.
That's a fairly common aspect of fibro fog, as well as the brain fog of chronic fatigue syndrome. We frequently have trouble remembering numbers and doing math (especially in our heads.) It's also common to transpose numbers.
In the early years of my fibromyalgia, I would sometimes look at a number and not even understand what it meant. When I'd read or hear two numbers, I didn't understand how they related to each other. For example, my husband would say something like, "The milk here is $2.89, but at the other store it was $3.17." I'd look at him and say, "Which one is cheaper?"
Now that my symptoms are largely in remission, I've regained a lot of my cognitive dysfunction, but the number problems have lingered somewhat. I still can't remember them - don't ever ask me what I paid for something, or what something usually costs! I can sometimes do simple math in my head, but sometimes the numbers get all scrambled and pretty soon I don't even remember the what I was supposed to be adding to what.
Perhaps the worst lingering issue with numbers and math, though, is my fear of not being able to do it. This issue is rearing its ugly head for me right now because my husband and I have decided that I need to take over the bills and budgeting. He works a full-time job with plenty of overtime and also has a small side business, and handling all of the finances is just too much for him.
So now I'm faced with learning the system he's set up (which bills are on auto pay, which ones he handles online, etc.) and staying on top of it. Part of me knows I can do it, but the rest of me isn't so sure. Doubt whispers around my mind: You're going to mess this up and cause a big financial mess, you're going to stress yourself out and jeopardize your health, you're going to destroy the good credit rating he's worked so hard to maintain.
To counter the negative messages, I'm trying to remind myself how far I've come cognitively. I'm also telling myself that working the math-centers of my brain, which have had the last several years off, will help me re-gain that function. When I look at it logically, it makes sense that I've recovered my language skills faster than my number skills - I'm a writer, and almost by definition, that means I avoid math! (Just a joke - no offense to math-loving writers out there. Either of you.)
I suppose, when it comes right down to it, I'll approach the bills and budget like I do everything else: I'll set up a system, spend a few months refining it, and do my best to stick to it. I'll ask my husband to double-check me for a while, just to be sure. Still, I'm nervous about it, and I know I will be until I've proven to myself that I can do it.
Have you found yourself struggling with things like bills and budgets? What has helped you stay on top of it? What problems have arisen because of your difficulties? Leave your comments below!
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