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Old 03-11-18, 10:18 AM
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Black and white thinking

To me I am learning some things are obvious to others but not so much to me. I have realized that dealing with ADHD is more than just being inattentive, focus, or hyperactivity. Or more correctly, how those things correlate to other aspects of of life encounters.

I am a very analytical person. I think perhaps maybe too hyper focused at times (I will address with a professional) and do not see the perspective of things as some others may. I have a degree in economics and often use economics to explain outcomes in court, people’s motives and values of personal and real property.

Once I was asking another economist if she would like to go snow skiing using only mathematics. Yes it can get “nerdy”.

I am reflecting how ADHD impacts my life and has impacted my life. I think of medication as a tool to assist and not except it to do the work for me.

My question to you fellow ADHD’ers, do you view things as black and white? Is the perspective of viewing things black and white an ADHD thing?
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Old 03-11-18, 10:33 AM
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Re: Black and white thinking

I'm not sure if I think in very black and white terms but I definitely feel in them if that makes sense. I mean I can see and understand nuances but my emotions and actions are based mostly on black and white thoughts.

You sound like so much fun by the way. I'd love to have things explained in terms of economy (though maybe the novelty would wear off after the first fifty times???).

How do you ask someone to go skiing in only mathematical terms?
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Old 03-11-18, 10:56 AM
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Re: Black and white thinking

Economists have a thing called utility. This is more or less the satisfaction one derives. The unit of measurement is defined in “utiles” using a U as the function (calculus). Example people eating donuts: the first donut tastes great, the 5th donut tastes good but not as much as the first and eventually you get sick of them. We would use a formula to calculate the optimum outcome.

This can be used to determine ticket pricing for an event as some people are willing to pay more than others, one has to determine how to maximize the price point.

The skiing question conversation used a variation of this. It conveyed that a certain date that we both had available permitted an opportunity to go skiing. (The best time to go and the best activity to enjoy at the best location allowed) - she has a PhD in behavioral economics.
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Old 03-11-18, 11:10 AM
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Re: Black and white thinking

Game theory is an economics theory derived from the mathematician John Nash (A Beautiful Mind).
Most people know how to play tic tac dough. It is based on game theory. But we also used game theory to establish the Miranda Rights (judicial system) 1966.
Economics is often employed in many aspects of our lives. Not just the economy. There boys and girls, is your economics lesson for the day.
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Old 03-11-18, 11:14 AM
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Re: Black and white thinking

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Originally Posted by Budkeiser View Post
My question to you fellow ADHD’ers, do you view things as black and white?
As an example I look at your question that tries to force a "Black or White" response, and I can't answer it as is and need to modify it. "Do I preferentially view things as black or white?" No
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Is the perspective of viewing things black and white an ADHD thing?
Not that I am aware of.
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Old 03-11-18, 11:19 AM
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Re: Black and white thinking

Yes, I used to. Was this because I have adhd? Because I have anxiety?
Because I'm probably on the autism spectrum? Maybe all of those.
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Old 03-11-18, 01:44 PM
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Re: Black and white thinking

It depends on the situation and where I am at the time mental health wise. Since I've gotten sober I have morphed into a shades of gray girl. I believe that all life is precious and that there is almost always a chance that someone is redeemable. Those sort of beliefs do not allow for black and white thinking. I was taught that if I kept thinking about the same thing in the exact same way, and it wasnt quite working for me then its me- I need to change my perspective.

Most times even though I think Im right and that my perspective is the greatest thing ever- its often not- often wrong or at least unfair.

I am not without flaws though. I tended to be black and white about me, and what things I accomplish. I used to criticize myself much more and Had the "yea but" syndrome. Ex:
"Sarah you did a great job with that report"
"Yea but....I could have had a better conclusion". See what I mean?

I slip up now and again and use B&W thinking to sit on my rigid pity pot but it does me no good. How can I expect to relate to other humans with kindness if I have black and white thinking?

I can be rigid too, which can be helpful for habits but unhelpful with dealing with other people. I think rigidity goes along with B&W thinking.
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Old 03-11-18, 06:46 PM
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Re: Black and white thinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Budkeiser View Post
To me I am learning some things are obvious to others but not so much to me. I have realized that dealing with ADHD is more than just being inattentive, focus, or hyperactivity.
There is an emotional dysregulation component to ADHD that the DSM decided to leave out. Russell Barkley and Thomas Brown are psychologists that have good info about this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Budkeiser View Post
I think perhaps maybe too hyper focused at times (I will address with a professional) and do not see the perspective of things as some others may.
ADHD can cause perseveration issues, which might look like hyper focus, but is actually different. Also, impulsive decision making is a core feature of ADHD, so it'd make sense that you often don't automatically think to see things from other perspectives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Budkeiser View Post
My question to you fellow ADHD’ers, do you view things as black and white? Is the perspective of viewing things black and white an ADHD thing?
My personal opinion is that 'black and white' thinking is more specifically about perfectionism, which is a defense mechanism. Perfectionism allows us to think that if we simply choose to work harder next time, we will be protected against future failures/hardships and make up for pervious failings. I think perfectionism can be very common among people with ADHD, but it's also common among people without ADHD.
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Old 03-11-18, 07:16 PM
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Re: Black and white thinking

Ya, I do tend to view things in black and white.

I don't always realize when I am doing it either. I don't trust myself and I try to avoid decisions because of it. Just being aware of it doesn't always help, and sometimes I just make mistakes in my judgement of things.

I don't know if it is an ADHD thing. Sometimes i've seen it as a product of an education system that asks you to find the "Right" answer as opposed to an acceptable one.
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Old 03-12-18, 08:41 AM
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Re: Black and white thinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesH View Post
T
My personal opinion is that 'black and white' thinking is more specifically about perfectionism, which is a defense mechanism.
I certainly have perfectionism, I think mostly due to the fact that i was diagnosed at an age of 22. However, for me this doesn't lead to me thinking in black and white at all. Instead, it causes me to doubt everything: big things like what direction I should take with my studies and small things like what I should eat today. Even writing a post on this forum takes me a while as I constantly edit and have no satisfaction with what I wrote.

I think people that always want to see things as either black or white use it as a sort of coping mechanism achieve a sense of security. I am often insecure myself as a result of my doubts but I try to accept that I cannot have an clear answer to everything immediately. Actually a bit of mystery in life is a good thing as well. If everything was clear cut life would also be a bit boring wouldn't it? There has to be some room left to wonder.
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Old 03-13-18, 06:41 PM
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Re: Black and white thinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Budkeiser View Post
My question to you fellow ADHD’ers, do you view things as black and white? Is the perspective of viewing things black and white an ADHD thing?
When i am relaxed i see all the shades of grey to the finest nuances. When I have time and the right circumstances i can reflect on things and view them from all possible angles, even too many angles which leads to indecisiveness or a complexity that is often hard to communicate fully.

eg. social and political issues i often see like that, where problems are just not easily reduced to a single cause or quick solution. Populist voices often try to make it out to be that simple though. Therefor, I often do not engage in such discussions because i just see too much grey... and its very hard to counter black and white opinions by throwing a lot of grey at them :-)


When i am really really stressed up though, my black and white glasses come on full mode, i think it is only normal as a stress reaction basically forces your brain to make all the shortcuts it can make to find a quick solution, it's part of the fight or flight response.


But the most curious thing happens when i am excited or moderately stressed. In such situation i tend to become a perfectionist and i fall prey to "White vs Everything Else" thinking. Only what is perfect is good, all the rest, even the brightest shade of grey is ... black.

And i call this curious because it is a middle stage where i still see the grey, but my mind is upset enough already to have trouble balancing out the grey, and as a "shortcut" it just sorts away anything that isn't white (enough).

Instead of it being a shortcut though, its a tedious and slow process, If I am not carefull enough I can spend hours looking for one white idea to use for a project i am working on, and meanwhile nothing else gets done.

And probably this phenomenon leads to procrastination too, you just try to avoid being caught up in that perfectionistic loop that totally locks you up searching for another "white" idea.
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Old 03-18-18, 10:56 AM
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Re: Black and white thinking

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Originally Posted by Bart1992 View Post
I certainly have perfectionism, I think mostly due to the fact that i was diagnosed at an age of 22. However, for me this doesn't lead to me thinking in black and white at all. Instead, it causes me to doubt everything: big things like what direction I should take with my studies and small things like what I should eat today. Even writing a post on this forum takes me a while as I constantly edit and have no satisfaction with what I wrote.
Damn it's like I'm reading something I posted myself! I also got diagnosed at age 22 and feel like it has caused perfectionism and ridiculously high standards for myself. I used to think I was dumb because I needed more time than others to digest information and write papers, which had the consequence of me overcompensating. It took me 3 degrees and being in the top 5% to finally get over that feeling and to build some self esteem. Yet, I still doubt everything and feel incredibly overwhelmed by choices. I always connect little things to bigger things, for example: failing this one class (which to me means getting less than 15/20) means you'll never reach your goals and your entire life is *****ed.

When it comes to black & white thinking, I don't feel like I do that a lot. I consider myself pretty rational when it comes to problems that don't relate to me directly (such as politics or a friend's problems). I try to look at it from all sides and am very nuanced in my conclusions and advice. When it comes to my own problems, I'm also nuanced, but a lot less rational.
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