Open Spaces

A place to talk about your experience of living with Dyspraxia

Moderator: Moderator Team

Post Reply
New member - welcome them!
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:57 am

Open Spaces

Post by Kfluf »

I have dyspraxia and adhd and have have worked to cope thru life with these however as adult life has progressed it has been harder and harder to cope, plus in the last few years my life circumstances have taken a dramatic turn for the worse and I have found myself forced unwillingly into a very different environment to that which I was used to, at which my difficulties gave been made very much harder to cope with. Most of the things that I have struggled with excruciatingly in the situation in which I have had to live for nearly two years match entirely with dyspraxia however there is one particular thing that I have particularly struggled with and has particularly far reaching knock on effects for me that I have never read as being a 'thing' associated specifically with dyspraxia but I have a bug inkling that there must be a connection to this and dyspraxia and so I am trying to find information/anyone with similar experiences to me with this.

Basically, I have always had a great need for open spaces, for my clarity of mind, to the point, not only do I struggle to think clearly inside but where I even struggled living in towns and needed countryside. Through school and university, without really thinking about it I look back and realise that all the successful academic work I did was when I had taken myself into the out doors. It is not just the need for peace and quiet, because that was achievable indoors, but it is definitely the need for the out doors. I remember revising for my GCSEs in my parents greenhouse when it was raining! I didn't really think about it at the time it was something I just sort of did, (much to the mirth of my peers, particularly when my reasoning for not having done my French homework was that I had accidentally left the textbook in the greenhouse for a few days and the damn going back gone mouldy so I couldn't read it! - A 'dog-ate-my-homework' sounding excuse, but it was true, It really did)

At uni I would often take my work out in my car and go and sit in a field or gateway to work. Again, just sort of something I did, without thinking much of why or connecting if to dyspraxia. I knew I struggled with towns and was determined to move to the countryside after uni. I also decided I was done with academics, so I spent the next fifteen years working with horses and in farm work which I suspect helped me, in being constantly physically demanding work stimulating my coordination which also helped stimulate the co ordination of mind. But mostly this gave me the opportunity to live in the countryside and to be outside most of the time.

More recently, my life has been unexpectedly and weirdly turned upside down, and I have been in a situation in which I had to be inside most of the time, for the best part of a year, unable even to even pop my head out of the door for a breath of fresh air.

This has really highlighted the executive functioning aspects of dyspraxia in me: the difficulty I have organising myself, keeping tidy and concentrating has become even more difficult than it was. And I have started suffering from extreme anxiety - a condition I could never previously gave imagined that I would be prone to, being a pragmatic sort of person, and being that breaking in horses and working with difficult horses that others are scared of has been my bread and butter for years.

Plus, now that I am able to go outside freely again, I have discovered I have actually become severely agrophobic, a most peculiar situation, given my general craving for the out doors overall. And a very distressing situation.

Is there any body with a similar experience of having quite such a fundamental need for the outdoors, and feels the same as I, that this us connected to cognitive processing issues assicuated with dyspraxia, and who finds that they suffer less with disorganisation and scattiness and other cognitive aspects of dyspraxia in open spaces?

The situation in which I became stuck indoors was this:

Cut a long story short, and a while ago, in my late thirties, I had a mental breakdown, ending up, to my great shock, in a mental health hospital. This was a heck of a shock to the system, being locked inside most if the time. It was also a brutal introduction to a whole new world. My God now I have seen things that have stripped me of any idea I may have had that the mental health system exists to help people. Once an inpatient one is caught in a complicated net. My psychiatrist was a tyrannical old boot as well, and kept refusing me leave out of the hospital, on somewhat spurious grounds, even when I was well enough. (As an example, when I protested that she was not being fair, she told me that I had to learn that life wasnt fair, an utterly ignorant attitude I feel for a psychiatrist to take). Unfortunately, when I had been unwell before I went into hospital I had committed a crime - i accidentally hit a policeman who was trying to grab me. It's a long and weird story as to how the situation arose in which I was being grabbed by a policeman, but suffice to say, I was very ill at the time. However, I was not sent to prison - for which I was considered by my psychiatrist to have been treated too leniently by the courts (she has written that in the reports). She had me sent to a forensic secure hospital. This is a whole other kettle of fish. I was well already by the time i went there, but once one has been sent down that route one is trapped, beholden to many boxes needing ticking by the powers that be. Ones life is no longer ones own. Plus I became now homeless. I had lost everything whilst i was in hospital, what i might have salvaged of the pigs ear I had made of my life, home, career, everything, whilst I was unwell, was well and truly put paid to by being sent away to this forensic unit. It is a truly heartbreaking to have seen the inside of the system like this, i have met many wonderful people who have been trapped in that God forsaken system for years, in an environment that is truly conducive to good mental health, going through merry hell in a while the powers that be tick their boxes.

So, in spite of the fact that pretty soon after my arrival there, the psychiatrist at that hospital told me he didn't really understand why I had been sent there, I was, neverthe less, stuck there, on section, behind double doors, constantly surrounded by ill people, in a closed ward enviroment of room and corridor, hardly even often let into a court yard. I had leave, but an hour a day, achieved only by the copious filling out of forms by stressed out over worked staff, and hours of waiting and waiting til someone had time to fill out the forms and let you out hardly replaces the normal, free person's ability to take a mind clearing breathe of fresh air at points thru the day, particularly as it was a desperately noisy environment, day and night, which was a nightmare; and it is certainly a brutal anathema to an out doors working life. It took well over a year to get out, between box ticking and housing to be sorted out.

I am well clear of hospital now, but stuck in a small flat in a town, struggling to pick myself up from all of that and, frankly feeling quite traumatised by the experience. Plus, weirdly given my life long affinity for the outdoor life, agrophobic.

I am trying to sort through my problems, the age old ones of disorganisation and forgetfulness, and the new ones of anxiety and agoraphobia, not to mention insomnia, and learn more about dyspraxia to find new ways of managing it. Not to mention, pretty pissed of with having been forced into an environment so utterly difficult to cope with dyspraxic difficulties in (such as the constant noise, banging doors, shouting etc).

Does anyone else find that dyspraxia seems to create a need for the outdoors? And, conversely, does anyone else struggle with agrophobic and feel that this has a connection to dyspraxia at all?

Power poster
Posts: 209
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Maldon District, Essex, UK

Re: Open Spaces

Post by Andrew_S_Hatton »

Thanks for your post.

I know something of the world you write about and would like to hear how things are now.

thanks for writing in some deatil, I am very sorry that you have not had any responses.

In thuis forum it seems as if conversations best develop when one, replies to someone else's posts as well as wating for a reply to what one has writen.

I am wary about going ino much detail right now, as it maybe that thinks have moved on for you and my responses are out of date.

Do please reply now and then I aim to look over your first post and reply to individual points that you have made in a bit more detail.

I would find it useful to know in what part of the world you live even if you do not want to say exactly which town you are in.

A bit about me - 70 - married - discovered I am dyspraxic around about 1999, when I was working as a probation officer/social worker in London. I continue to live ina semi rural part of Maldon District in Essex, England UK, but nowadays rarely go outside the house - it just feels easier that way as I no longer need to go out much and have withdrawn from most face to face social situations that once occupied a lot of my time (all in fact - I have not even visitred my family for several years) my wife goes out and about far more - which is the opposite to how things were when I was working.

Over to you.

Post Reply