Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is Healing Permanent?

Last week, a very sweet young woman named Carly asked me if a person is healed of Asperger's, could it ever come back? This is a good question and worthy of a thoughtful answer. 

Healing comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes people are healed of cancer, a bruise on their body, a broken bone, a broken spirit, a broken heart, and (but not limited to) an unruly brain that just won't cooperate with us sometimes, whether a person is epileptic or has a diagnosis of autism or Asperger's, just to name a few neurological conditions. 

So sometimes, Carly, although a person may have been set free from an illness like cancer, a tumor can come back again and the second time around it can claim that life originally healed. I have seen that happen which humbled me. It made me completely re-evaluate all of my beliefs about healing, and it made me realize that nothing God does for us can ever be taken for granted. We must give thanks for every day we have breath and learn to live in gratitude regardless of our circumstances. 

However, in terms of the healing of autism and Asperger's, I am more inclined to believe that this is a permanent healing. Why? Because when the healing of these two conditions takes place, the brain literally undergoes thousands upon thousands of both neurological and chemical changes, and this results in changes of our genetic code. New (and healthy) gene sequences are created in the brain and this is sustained every time we make new and positive decisions in our lives, interact in healthy ways with others, and make hopeful plans for the future. When we do these things, believe it or not, our healthy actions result in greater brain mass. Greater brain mass results in improved memory and all around better cognitive functioning. This is called neuroplasticity.

Essentially, I believe that in order to "lose your healing" (this is a serious lack of better words but I can't think of another phrase right now) from Asperger's the brain would have to undo tens of thousands of changes, and I just do not see how that is possible. 

As for anxiety related to autism spectrum disorders, which Carly asked me about, too, anxiety generally is produced in these cases by latent memories of negative experiences and a fear that they will continue to happen in the future. 

As healing happens, and you begin to realize you are having success in your interaction with others, generalized anxiety diminishes. Again, the changes in your brain allow for your brain to produce more neurotransmitters that help you stay calmer and focused, while some of the chemicals associated with anxiety (cortisol) are produced less. It takes time to overcome generalized anxiousness, but it is possible, and prayer, without a doubt, can and usually does speed up the healing process.

But if you want to get a good jump start on lowering anxiety levels, you can do so simply by cutting way back on simple sugars and sugar substitutes in your food.

It is important, however, to realize that fear is an emotion created by God. We don't want to live in a prison where we are afraid of everything, but we don't want to be unaware of when we are in danger, which is exactly what the purpose of healthy fear is. When suddenly afraid, we are alerted to the fact that something is wrong and we need to get out of Dodge!

Can generalized anxiety return? I think it depends on the individual, but mostly, I have seen it try to come back into my own life, but as I grow I have seen God provide for me more and more, and He is also a shelter for me more than ever. When the world still pokes fun at me for some of my differences, I go back and hide myself in Him, and under the shadow of His wings I am comforted. I do not consider myself as one who suffers constantly from anxiety, although there was a time in my life when I did. I know how to find my peace in God now. 

The Lord bless you, Carly, on your journey. Jesus never rejected anyone who came to Him for healing, so I hope you will open your heart to Him and go to Him in prayer. Never give up, and praise Him for every victory He gives you along the way in your life. The peace of the Lord be with you always!