Black and White Thinking
Coloring books are funny things for me. Even as a kid they were hard because I believed that there must be a right way to color the page and ultimately the entire coloring book too. I believed there was a right way and a wrong way to color a coloring book. I was constantly frustrated that I was picking the wrong colors and putting them in the wrong spaces. I know, it’s kind of a funny example of the black and white thinking that I experience both in the past and currently. I’m sure lots of other people have their own experiences of getting locked into black and white thinking patterns. However, with some of the struggles associated with ASD, I notice that I “get stuck” in this black and white thinking. When it is something “silly” like a coloring book, it is frustrating, but not necessarily important. I have found that as I have gotten older, the everyday decisions mostly don’t matter in the long term. However there are occasions when getting stuck can make it harder to think through important decisions or problems.
Oftentimes, I get so locked into thinking there are only two options even when there are many more options that might work better. I have found strategies that work for me when I get stuck and for the most part they work well. For example, making a list of what I need or want to do and having someone to help brainstorm important decisions is one strategy that works well for me.
Life would be so much simpler if I didn’t get held up by the simple “no consequence” decisions that I make multiple times each day. I’m not sure that I will ever stop struggling with my tendency to see things in terms of black and white. One thing I know for certain is that for everyone, making decisions is an everyday part of life, and it is important to not give up and to continue to use positive coping strategies.