I've noticed that when I walk without my cane (just around my house or sometimes in PT) I don't walk like I'm drunk - I walk like a toddler who's still learning. Fingers wide apart, hands extended from the side, wobbling back and forth like a penguin - definitely toddler time! Just wish I was as close to the ground as they are in case I fall!
I agree about going out into wide open spaces. Even with my cane, things like walking across the parking lot to get to where I'm going can freak me out, and I have to keep telling myself to breathe, relax, just walk normally....if I let myself think about the possible fall I fear, I start falling, so I've had to learn to instantly block out that image and instead picture myself strong and healthy as I cross the parking lot with ease. Nobody else sees that when they look at me, but as long as I picture it, I can make my way safely across the space. I also have a fear of hustling, bustling crowds knocking me over and children doing likewise. I can't get upset - I didn't know any better before I had the stroke, how would they know? So yes, sometimes I just have to stop and focus on holding my ground until the tumult passes. If I can stop near an object that I can lightly touch, it really, really helps.