Physical impairments and mobility issues
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fear of walking outside

Hi all

I wonder if someone else has similar fears to me

i'm Stuart aged 43, i was born with cerebral palsy, i am / was very active independent guy and can look after myself in life and domesticated.

to keep it short.

although my walking was never great, ie wobbly best to describe as a drunk person! altho i was sober....... but i was confident in walking around outside unaided
on my own.

But now over the last couple years seem to have lost confidence and seem anxious and fear in walking outside or indeed open spaces. not the fact of being out in open guess the fear off falling over....

When im holding on to my walker i feel fine... or indeed hold hands with my partner, also feel confident when walking thro a corridor or next to a wall, i guess thought of something i can grab if i were to fall.. like a safety net!! ie when walking around the house/flat I feel fine sometimes i'm able to walk with ease and other times I clam up and stiff like a robot. and moving my legs is a struggle. Sometimes I feel like grabbing hold on to the furniture to steady myself. But there are times when i feel relaxed and able to walk freely and pain free where i dont even think about walking i just get off my ass and walk to answer the phone, even if its only bloody PPI..... grrr!! or just put kettle on! I know its pollys job but i like to be independent!!

As soon as I step outside that's where I seem to clam up my muscles go tight, I go stiff like a robot esp with my knees being in pain, I struggle to walk/move, and find my self wanting to walk sideways/side step for some reason... (rather than trying to walk forward and straightish like I do indoors/treadmill etc) just to get me to my car or a wall..but as soon as i'm close to all wall or an object, I feel fine, even if I just grab slightly a coat of my partners arm I seem more relaxed. also I feel as though  I anticipate on whether my knees are going to hurt or not as to whether I'm going to be able to walk the way I want too or way I know I can on the treadmill......

i guess as you would say my balance as alluded me, altho i can still ride a two wheel bike!! yes two wheels, with confidents, work that one out!! lol

also i able to walk on a treadmill holding on, with feet and legs straight, look and feel different person on it. same when i push a trolley round supermarket etc.

finally when i have 2/3 beers 3.8% alc seems to relax me and able to walk in open spaces   able to walk with ease and freely with no fear and anxious about falling over etc..
which kind leaves me with frustrations that  physically my body able to walk with ease when under small amount of alcohol.........
makes me think i got a mental blockage or some sort of anxiety...anyone with similar fears or frustrations??


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  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    @stu1973 I don't have CP but I do have nerve damage in my legs and I had 4 falls last year. I also have PTSD which makes me anxious about going out alone. In fact I don't. Reading how you describe your walking I know what you are trying to say. I have worse leg problems when I sit indoors as they go to sleep and lose all muscle strength so I should be worse indoors but I'm not. As soon as I step outside even just walking to the car I feel vulnerable and my legs go all over the place. Sometimes I have to put my arms out to the side just to balance. I use a stick sometimes but it doesn't really help as I fall over it and it agrivates my shoulder and neck pain and my trigger finger in the hand I hold it with. I think the brain subconsciously knows the difference between being indoors where there's plenty to grab hold of or being outdoors with that big open space around you. Maybe I should get a treadmill as I never walk straight unless I really concentrate and then it feels strange as if it's not normal. I'm 66 and Doctors take very little notice so we have to try and do what we can and accept what we can't do. I know that's hard when you're younger but if you can't wave a magic wand and make your CP go away then you'll be happier if you accept it and feel good about yourself when you've achieved something you once found too difficult. Maybe try a little walk outdoors on your own each day and turn around as soon as the fear hits you. You may find you can go a little further once you stop putting pressure on yourself to be "normal". There is no such thing. Whatever you do don't use alcohol as a crutch otherwise you end up with a worse problem. 
  • Nic123Nic123 Member Posts: 8 Connected
    Hi Stu,I’m 43 and this is exactly the same as me in terms of  symptoms.

    I have spina bifida and although I can walk reasonably well inside and reasonably well when I’m holding onto my partners hand I often freeze outside alone.

    I can’t balance stepping down curbs and crossing roads as my knees hurt and my feet freeze I think it’s just from all the fear!

    Most people don’t have to handle all the peril we do right? I’m glad Wildlife, that you understand too. 
    I get to the gym most days, and focus on balance and confidence, weirdly drinking loosens me up too! 

    I use baccs resur remedy the other times and have been wondering if the herbal cannabis oil (the legal one 😀) might help.

     I bought  a suitcase on wheels and I wait around with me when I’m on my own so I’ve got something to hold onto otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get around at all I’m just too scared.

    When I was younger it was a lot easier!

    I’ve just found that I need to manage it and accept that this is how I am I am I think if you fall a lot it’s really normal to have this reaction I hope you pick up this message I was so so pleased to see your post. Please stay in touch-especially if you have found anything else that helps! Nic 
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