After a very busy day I was beginning to wind down gently, knowing this was the last appointment of the day. When Max arrived at the door he looked anything but relaxed. After only a short walk from the station he was flushed and perspiring heavily. Although he was dressed in a smart business suit, having just arrived from the City, he looked disheveled and was visibly short of breath. It was a crisp spring day, sunny but not hot, but for Max the sheer physical effort of walking the 7 minutes from the station to my clinic, had involved considerable effort.
After he had composed himself a little, we ran through his concerns. Max was 34 and seemed to most people just like any other successful, personable young executive. As with most adults who suffer from Retained Reflex Syndrome, Max’s symptoms did not just affect his life at the physical level, but on a more subtle psychological level. He found making decisions and completing tasks extremely difficult, despite feeling a compulsive need to get things done. He often felt unaccountably nervous and suffered from frequent headaches. He avoided driving because he found it unbearably stressful and tiring.
He would get easily upset and this frequently culminated in heated exchanges with others. He would experience feelings of antagonism towards others and often felt that people were not well disposed towards him or somehow disapproved of him. He knew that these were just ‘feelings’ and as such were often experienced for no accountable reason and, in his view, often with no real justification. He was worried that something was wrong with his mind, and was taking anti-depressants and seeing a counsellor.
When I ran my preliminary tests, it was very apparent that Max was suffering from the classic signs of dyspraxia, as well as all the other predictors of RRS. Although he was obviously intelligent and likeable, no amount of physical or mental effort was going to enable him to overcome his difficulties at the emotional and psychological level. I explained to him what I was seeing: he was like a six cylinder car which was stuck in 3rd gear, while all around were able to cruise past in 5th gear.
We ran Max’s Diagnostic Assessment a couple of weeks later. At his subsequent Report Reading, I explained to him why he had these severe dyspraxic tendencies and how these, combined with dyslexic traits, were affecting him. It was all down to his having retained certain early reflexes and, while his symptoms were not severe enough to be picked up clinically, they were enough to obstruct much of what he attempted to do. Both the retained ATNR and TLR reflexes meant that not only were his balance and physical movement severely compromised, but also his eye tracking, making reading difficult and tiring, and accuracy in sports an impossibility.
He also had a retained Spinal Galant reflex, which can lead in later life to lower back problems and the oesteopath’s couch. Though still in place, it not surprisingly scored low, as most adults learn to overcome this reflex by tensing their lower back muscles, so that standard tests would not show it as being present. However, his response to the Segmental Roll (SRR) reflex test, showed that his cross-lateral fluidity was simply non-existent, proof that his Spinal Galant was still present and had interfered with the SRR’s development.
Max started on the Mulhall Integration Programme in May that year.
June – he had gradually reduced, and then come off his medication. He also had stopped seeing his counsellor. He decided to stop going to the gym, as he wished to avoid the repetitive “cycle of life”.
July – Max found he could focus and stay focused for longer periods of time. He no longer got disheartened when picking up a book, a feeling he regularly had previously. He was still experiencing compulsive behaviours. He ran a Corporate Challenge, organised by his City employer. He completed the course, knocking off 4 ½ minutes from his time the previous year.
August – he swam 32 lengths in 30 minutes, swimming the crawl. He previously struggled to do 16 lengths and had always felt exhausted.
September – he stopped all drinking and smoking.
October – still not drinking or smoking. He reported feeling so much more relaxed, so much more “normal”. Walking more upright, which Max describes as a miracle.
November and December – all steady and on course.
January – a bit of a dip this month, as he was waiting to move and change his job. Max expressed concern about the fact that a close relative was staying with him who, he now recognised, had a drinking problem – something he once had too. Max had no desire to be drawn into all that again.
At this stage I signed Max off as he had completed the programme and all his birthing reflexes had been successfully eliminated. This in turn, had allowed for the full integration and maturation of the adult responses. He was surprised, maybe a little worried, that he would not to have to see me any longer. It was almost as if he was expecting more treatment and yet more change. I explained that the changes would continue to build and have a direct effect on his life.
In April I had my last appointment with Max. As he walked into my office he was poised and relaxed, beaming with newfound confidence – a million miles away from the person I first met. “My walk is just incredible. I feel so free and can walk for long periods without tiring. At work and at home, I can actually concentrate over long periods of time and not just in 3- 5 minutes bursts as before. I can now complete tasks in a fraction of the time it took me previously.”
Max – Two years on
I am always touched and delighted when my clients keep in contact. Max is one of those clients. He contacted me to say that he was very busy these days and spending lots of weekends away. In fact, he had spent the whole of the previous weekend walking on the North Yorkshire Moors. Not only that, he was now both a confident and competent enough driver to drive long distances and ferry friends around, which he would never have done before.
Two years after completing his course of treatment, Max sent me the following testimonial:
Before I was directed to the David Mulhall Centre by a helpful Counsellor, I had been told by the NHS that there was no cure for dyspraxia, but that it was ‘liveable with’. As an adult, I had no formal diagnosis and was shuttled between my GP and an Adult Dyspraxia Support Group in my attempts to get one.
I gave up on finding any help, and after trying every kind of fish-oil supplement with no significant improvement, resigned myself to taking anti-depressants for the rest of my life to take away the constant anxiety. They actually made me more clumsy but I didn’t care so much any more. The side effects were many but there seemed no alternative.
Once I saw a description of dyspraxia as an adult, I knew that I had had this condition since childhood, but had never received any understanding of my difficulties. In spite of this, I made it to university and completed a degree. It was later, when I was living on my own in London, in my first real job, that my problems really began.
I had experienced some bullying at secondary school due to my awkward walk and inability at football, but my academic success allowed me to rise above it. In my first job things got bad again as I was too slow, my handwriting was terrible and I was permanently disorganised and dishevelled. I failed the professional exams that I worked obsessively hard towards because of my handwriting problems. After this failure I became consumed by addictions.
It was only my abilities with I.T. that saved me from the sack and a life on the scrapheap but I still had many difficulties at work with other people who did not appreciate how hard I had to try at the things that came naturally to them. I felt very misunderstood.
My treatment at the David Mulhall Centre worked miracles. If all that had been promised was that I would finally walk normally, that would still have been beyond my wildest dreams. That happened within the first 3 months. The constant floating anxiety also disappeared, my posture relaxed and I became a much happier person. I was able to cope with my feelings that had in the past overwhelmed me. My crippling hyper-sensitivity was massively reduced. At work, I became so adept at organising and completing my backlog of tasks that my boss had to get used to me asking him what I should do next. I passed the Project Management qualification first time, unlike several other people at my firm.
Today I do not need to take anti-depressants. I am organised, co-ordinated, walk normally and can run faster than I could at 18. I have hope again, can respond to my own feelings and am no longer shut-down, or feeling overwhelmingly desolate. It definitely worked for me.