Friday, August 3, 2018

Music Composer with Severe Dyscalculia & Working Memory Problems

VISITOR I just tought I can share with you my story about discalculia life. I am 27 years-old. I have strong discalculia, but in my case, it's also somehow connected with a disability to play from sheet of music, even though I learned music all my life. I found that whenever I try to learn something, like a piano song, every day I sit to it like I never saw it before. There are exercises in the book about music.  I have played every week for 10 years and everytime, I have difficulty understanding it. It's so complicated for my brain. Every note has its own length, rhythm and pitch, and also belongs to some key, and one should also remember key signature. My biggest passion is music, so I have to do it, but I get tired very fast, and I usually become exhausted from thinking.

For example, I compose music- it looks good, but suddenly I even forget what I am doing, and what key I am in, and it seems there is no memory to store something before I need it again. Does it make any sense? The worst thing, is that my memory and music/math disability is somehow connected to depression and even paranoid states. I take some pills for depression, but am a happy person! I become depressed and paranoid only when I work with numbers, memory, and notes.

I've had this since a young age - it was hard to learn clocks and I was unable to solve basic mathematical questions. But in other disciplines, that don't include math, it seems I am highly intelligent.

I think I have ADHD - it is verry hard for me to spend time with lots of details alone. I try to simplify everything.

Do you have any basic help so that I can learn to function better? I found out that the more impulses and more toughts I have, the more depressed I feel. What is interesting, is that I get (for example at work) exhausted very fast. At the end of the workday, I have difficulty even remembering a sentence in a book I've just read.

If I am with animals or in nature and then go read a book, I can remember more, but my memory gets amazingly short, once I am solving any problem, and it cannot accept any information.

Thanks for any tips that will help. Could I have one more question? 

Could it be somehow connected to low memory difficult, that I have those paranoid states or is it something different? 

For example, today I was analyzing some music in my usual process. I sit alone at the piano and table. I play few chords of a composition, then I see what harmonic secret is hidden behind those progressions and all of those little details I write down on paper under the notes. I use many colors to make a system. I am usually very satisfied because I am becoming really good in recognizing all  the chords and their meanings, BUT, then I begin to feel very hot and my leg starts to move up and down like I am nervous, then I loose my concentration ability, and suddenly I start to repeat and repeat those two or even just one chord and I am like, "Well, I have this chord... and? What do I want to do with it? Aha!"
I realize, I want to analyze it, "Well, lets get to it again!" (I get to it again and the whole thing repeats but now a bit faster ) - I forgot what connection this one chord has with other chords and couldn't understund why I am suddenly so slow if I was working very fast few minutes ago. If I didnt stop in this moment (what usually happens because I become very compulsive and passionate about analyzing music (I almost feel like I am decrypting some code of other composer's brain). Then, I become even more nervous and I become sweaty and what's the worst, I loose contact with reality. For example someone calls me to have dinner, and I come to eat, but my brain is in totally dreamy state - I couldn't answer questions very well and this makes me very lonely because it's hard for me to communicate socially, because if I don't work with music, I feel like I am bored or a useless human. 

This happens to me even if I read a book and I get very interested. I lose contact with reality, then I forget the sentence that I  just read and must read it again and again because I keep forgetting it. Even when writing this letter, I got so "IN IT" that I must take some time to relax before doing something normal. - Somehow, it seems I get very anxious about doing stuff once I am passionate or interested about it. 

Thank you for any info - I am like a fairytale figure trying to understand who the hell I am, and what is happening to me, so I could learn to live more relaxed and do my work :).

DYSCALCULIA.ORG: Math working memory is your primary problem. This working memory deficit may be visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. You need strategies to mitigate insufficient working memory, especially when doing music or math tasks. Chunk things into  small units. Take the time to deeply understand the task, so that you are not reliant on memory of procedures, but can logically reason the steps and sequences needed to execute a task. Achieve automaticity in note reading and auditory recognition, to take away the huge demand for recall, which when added to demands for sequential memory and visual-spatial and auditory memory, can overwhelm you and result in a state of mental static, where nothing is processed effectively. It would help me to know what country you are writing from and what your primary language is, and if you are using an app to translate your message into English.

I think that you are experiencing mild anxiety attacks or episodes whenever your working memory is maxed out by the tasks at hand. When this happens, you are still aware and are taking in information and are doing things, but your brain is not fully processing the information and you are not fully "engaged," so your work and time spent is not as effective as it should be, and your focus and sustained attention is inefficient. 

It takes a lot of executive function to compose and even play music. Working memory deficit is a strong factor in effective executive function and focus and sustained attention. Employ strategies at all times in order to PREVENT getting to that overwhelmed point. Take frequent breaks with physical activity. Color-coding is an excellent strategy! Reasoning and talking aloud about what you're doing helps, too. Make lists and refer to them often. Dictate your thoughts into a voice recorder on your computer or phone and turn on automatic voice to text so you can see your ideas, too. 

While you are probably able to hyper-focus when really into what you're doing, your brain takes a time-out for you, by losing focus and losing track and becoming overwhelmed in the middle of tasks. So, try to prevent this from happening by setting a visual timer to train yourself to work in productive spurts. 

Please let us know if this helps! 


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  2. Hello. I sincerely sympathize with you. At such a young age to get such a problem ... I do not even know what word to pick ... it's a shame probably.
    I did not encounter this myself, but I read about this illness in term paper outline. Discalculalia is a specific disruption in the ability to study arithmetic, which is manifested, as a rule, in preschool and junior school age. In fact, the ailment is a whole complex of violations affecting the logical aspects of understanding arithmetic operations, patterns of number conversion, etc.
    In most cases, the disorder acts as an independent pathology, not a symptom of any underlying disease. Often in children with dyscalculia, attention deficit disorder is also observed.
    In adults, this ailment may indicate an organic lesion of the brain. Often violations of this kind occur with strokes, tumorous neoplasms, craniocerebral trauma, cysts in the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex.

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  4. Elizabeth EllerbeeOctober 19, 2018 at 1:01 AM

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