Autism, Anxiety, and A Real Miracle

This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission. Learn more in our disclosure.

Fireworks over Lake

Over the past four months or so, I’ve shared with you all on Facebook a number of times that my son has been dealing with pretty severe anxiety.   And you all have been very helpful in offering recommendations.  Thank you!  If you haven’t “liked” Whole New Mom on Facebook, please do join us.  It’s a very supportive community over there.

You see, my son suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.  And Asperger’s almost always comingles (goes together) with anxiety.

Over the past 5 months, his anxiety has increased to the point of being well—really bad.  Mainly it’s been anxiety about his life threatening food allergies.

It’s been hard some days to handle it.

To wonder if we can keep going.

To wonder if he’ll get better.

Over the years, we’re tried a lot of things to heal my son.  You can read more about it in Natural Autism Healing and the Best Therapy of All.

We’ve tried a lot of things to help his anxiety, and are working closely with our practitioner to manage his stress.

We’ve tried  / are trying the following:

Natural Anxiety Remedies

  • GABA
  • 5 HTP (partnered with B6)
  • L-Taurine (this really seems to help)
  • Essential Oils
  • Salvia and Amber (a Chinese Herb blend recommended for anxiety and insomnia)
  • hugs and encouragement (though I must admit that it can be hard to do this when mom is really stressed out from all of the incessant questions about the things he is anxious about :-))

We’ve been working with a practitioner for about 1 1/2 years now.

You might recall that I mentioned this practitioner in my posts on adrenal fatigue (Are You Just Tired — Or is it Something More?) and heavy metals (Could You Have Metal Poisoning and Not Know It? ~ Part One).
Update 10/15/16: Since this post we have moved on to other practitioners with whom we have seen much more progress.
At that time, tests on my son’s hair have showed a HUGE amount of copper.

And copper causes anxiety
(amongst other things.)
So we worked on getting the copper out and getting him calm.
Anyway–just because you think there might be an end to the tunnel doesn’t mean it’s easy to see it.
Well, this year, on the Fourth of July, we had a very interesting twist in our son’s anxiety story.
See the fireworks in the photo above?  Well, he used to be petrified of them.
As in–he’s never sat through them.
We’ve tried.  Many times.  He even gets super anxious just talking about them.
Most of you are new to my blog, but last year I shared in my post on True Freedom on the Fourth ~ An Autism Story how my son overcame a number of his anxieties on the Fourth of July.  He had victory over:
  • feathers
  • clowns
  • well, fireworks–not really.
Well, this year we got a real surprise.
If you look closely at the top photo, you can make out the head shape on the right side.
That’s my son’s friend.
Now—look closely at this next photo.
Fireworks over Lake

One head on either side of the photo, right?

The head on the left belongs to my son. The one on the right is his friend’s.

He made it through the whole fireworks show.

Yes, with sound-reducing ear muffs on, but he. made. it.

And he even says that he had “a great time.”

I’m still not sure why.

At first I thought it was because his friend was there, but then I realized that his friend was there last year too.

Were we as a family calmer about the fireworks thing this year (not worrying about how he would react) and so didn’t contribute to his anxiety? I don’t think so.

Not sure why – but he did great.

His other anxieties?  Not the feathers and clown so much, but his other anxieties?

They’re still here.

And this Momma is tempted to despair when they get bad.

But here’s to small miracles.

Here’s to small victories.

And here’s to good memories.

I’m purposing to send these photos off to be developed this week so I can get them in a photo album and remember the day we had a Small Miracle on the Fourth of July.

Do you have a “Small (or Big) Miracle” to share?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



  1. You should know that the meats and broth are what are going to be a: most healing to the gut, and b: carry the most amino acids (which turn into things to regulate mood, such as GABA, 5-HTP, Tryptophan and serotonin). While he may have anxiety at first, it should help in the end.

    I think fruit should be used in moderation, and it should be eaten in it’s original form (like EAT THE WHOLE APPLE, not juice). There are certain benefits to home juicing organic fruits and veggies, because they DO have lots of vitamins and minerals. Juicing allows you to get concentrated amounts of nutrients, necessary for growth and rebuilding tissues in the body…. however, you want to use limited amounts of fruit in those juices.

    You cannot completely get away from sugar. There is some form of natural sugar in ALL things, it all breaks down into glucose sooner or later. Honestly I think grains tend to hit the body more like a refined sugar than fruit does, but that may vary by person. I can’t tolerate refined flours, or even whole grains unless they are soaked or sprouted, they just get my “sugar button” going and give me bloating.

    My theory on the guy with the bananas being good and the fat being bad, is that he has a serious case of candida so that he feels good only when he eats alot of fruit/sugar in a day, perhaps he has troubles with his digestive enzymes too, from eating too much fruit and not enough fat for a while. Or perhaps he wasn’t eating GOOD fats… or perhaps he had trouble with his gallbladder, due to bacterial overgrowth and oxalate levels… could have been any number of things, but I bet he is a fluke.

    This has been a very interesting conversation. Thanks so much!I never heard some of the concerns your practitioner has, and that really opens my eyes to a different perspective. I like to hear lots of perspectives, I don’t want to just blindly follow anything, and sometimes it helps me to find research that might help someone else later. Thanks!

    1. I agree on the sugar thing but I am super limited now. I may try some U pick blueberries this week and see how I do. Thanks!!

  2. I’m on a WAPF board too! Cool. I don’t have a costco here, and haven’t seen much KerryGold around, just one store carries it that I am aware of, and I don’t shop there.. with five kids in tow I can only go to so many places! lol…

    When I use a sweetener its raw honey or stevia, fruit or date puree.

    I hear that even kids who don’t like broth will begin to like it on GAPS… that was true in our case too. She didn’t like broth at first, and I worked hard to make it palatable, but after I cut out all the other things, she started to enjoy the broth. If I let too much fruit creep back in, she doesn’t want the broth anymore… not sure why that happens except that perhaps its the candida making another stand and demanding fruit.

    I go for the raw honey because it has additional properties of value, like enzymes, and pollen.

    Keep praying, its the best answer! (And I have days when I just want to give up trying to heal her too… its not easy, and i have to remember that its not ME healing her, even if I am the one cooking.)

    1. Neat. I will add, that w/ my son it’s not that he doesn’t like broth–it’s that he is almost paranoid of it. So…could be very interesting. My practitioner is very much against fruit due to the sugar issues. She says fruit has been hybridized to make it full of more sugar. I haven’t looked into this. Well, I did a little and found some articles that really didn’t make much common sense. Like one gentleman saying he could eat 20 bananas in one day and feel great while eating too much fat made him feel horrible. I suspect it’s b/c he is only in his 20’s 🙂 and the effects haven’t hit him yet.

  3. Adrienne,

    To be sure he’ll eat ALOT, and I can’t say that this has been friendly to our budget. I use conventional foods not organic, because I can’t afford all organic stuff. Plus I don’t splurge on grass fed meats often. Fill him up with FAT, and protein, then fill in the rest with veggies. Fat will be the lifesaver though, never skimp on the fats. Coconut oil, Olive Oil, the best butter you can afford (we splurge on Organic Valley Pastured butter, but I also found that my local store has a store brand organic butter that is very yellow so look around you might be blessed!).

    I wouldn’t stress the carob, minimize its use, delete it altogether in the beginning to see how he handles it when you reintroduce it. But if you don’t see a problem, then I wouldn’t stress it. GAPS and SCD are not perfect diets, and people who use these diets start strict and then flex according to their needs.

    I find Health Home and Happiness (blog) to have lots of WONDERFUL recipes. If you have the extra money she also produces great cookbooks, at reasonable prices. Her daughter spent two years on GAPS and had lots of success, and she is just now reintegrated into a regular, traditional food diet. you may find her blog very encouraging.

    In general at our house I cook one meal for the whole family, but for my GAPS kid I leave off the grain and starch and serve her extra helpings of the protein and veg. I make the grain or starch on the side (rice, potatoes, rolls etc.) When I am really on top of things I keep a crockpot of stock going all week, look for a “perpetual broth” or “continual broth”. Use a cup of that at each meal, well seasoned with salt!, and use it to cook the veggies etc. add extra fat to the GAPS plate.

    I hope that the Lord will lead you in the best solution for your son. He is amazingly faithful, and able to provide your every need. He provided this solution for us, but no two kids are the same, and the Lord is the one who knows what each one needs.

    God bless!

    1. it should read “a perpetual broth” recipe… you can look for one online that keeps the chicken in the pot all week.

      1. Just found one. Interesting. I don’t know that I am keen on spending $20 (the high estimate for leaving the slow cooker on) a month for chicken broth though. Do you do this? My son really dislikes broth, by the way, so this is a real puzzle. Some days I think I should just love him as he is and forget about healing.

    2. Thanks again. I for sure will look into this. I was familiar w/ that site. I will say that my practitioner said organic is very important when going for broths since you are getting concentrations of nutrients, etc. I wonder about that. Did you know Costco sells Kerrygold Butter? That’s a better option than Organic Valley from all I know. I am on a WAPF board which doesn’t mean I know everything – but I do know some things :-).

      I also wonder about sweeteners. Well, all of this is just hard to sort out so we will just pray and see what we come up with. Thanks again.

  4. I don’t have any data, far as I know none has been collected. I just read stories of success, and am one. Regarding the honey, we don’t use alot of it either, since we are also strongly opposed to sugars.

    I don’t know that it will clear up a life threatening allergy, I believe I have read that it probably won’t do that, but it CAN clear up other more mild allergies/intolerances, and definately takes a load off of the immune system and adrenal systems of detoxing, thereby making it easier for the child’s body to cope, and relieving many of the symptoms of autism, if not a total cure, it sure is a wonder worker.

    Regarding SCD, I don’t know as much about that diet as I do about GAPS, but from what I understand they are very very similar, and without clinical testing I would be hard pressed to say one is better than the other. I know that GAPS is built on some of Gottschall’s theories (SCD). I tend to consider the diets interchangeable, and if its ok on SCD I’m ok with it with my daughter too… I think GAPS might be slightly more proactive in the addition of broths and probiotics, two healing and restorative foods/supplements.

    Given that you are already not using honey, or eggs, I don’t think that doing GAPS would be much harder. You’d have to give up starches and grains but with the results I saw, I’m still a total sell out. Its worth a shot anyway. That’s how I looked at it in the beginning. I said to myself “this is a shot in the dark, but so are the other things we have done, I’m going to try this for 3 months and see what happens.” After just a couple weeks I was sold. After 3 months my husband (total skeptic) was sold, now after 10m my husband tells me HE wants to do GAPS.

    Anyway, everything I know is anecdotal, probably why I don’t blog! lol… Just some stuff to chew on and think about. I certainly don’t know your son or his specific situation, and GAPS isn’t a miracle worker. I’m sure it doesn’t work in all cases.

    God bless!

    1. Thanks again. I am going to seriously think (and pray) about this. Not sure how I would fill him up -we use carob also….so I will have to really put my thinking cap on. Thank you! If you have some great resources for recipes etc I am all ears.

  5. Regarding the adrenal taxing, what I am saying is that the gut dysbiosis is taxing the adrenals, and that without fixing the gut, you can’t fix the adrenals so that they can use the GABA. Doing GAPS will help the adrenals recover.

    GAPS has been done without dairy, nuts, eggs or other things by many people. My own daughter doesn’t do nuts (though not due to allergy… just we can’t really afford them much). Most people on GAPS avoid dairy at least for the beginning part and sometimes for months or years, I should mention however that lots of people find that after some time on GAPS they can then tolerate dairy. The egg white allergy is IMO the hardest one to work around, but you ALREADY work around it. You’d just have to decide to give up eggs and egg replacers altogether. It is a step farther, and would require an overhaul in your current regiment, but those starches you are using to replace egg with, they are REALLY hard on the digestive system, and are likely causing more problems than you realize.

    I would be very interested in hearing your health practitioners concerns. My pediatrician was slightly concerned with how restrictive the diet is, but was completely at rest once he understood that it is a temporary diet, intended to be over in 2 years or so, besides that he saw the dramatic changes in our daughter and that really won him over. Those changes only took 1-6 months (and continue to improve), very short time regarding autism/sensory processing rehabilitation.

    I’d be happy to answer further questions, but I’m just a mom like you, whose been through alot with these issues, and researched alot. I like to help local moms too, and one of my dearest friends is starting the GAPS diet with her 5 year old son (with life threatening allergies similar to your son), who isn’t growing, after she saw the changes in my daughter.

    Hope this continues to be helpful. Have you read the GAPS book? I think you would find it very interesting.

    1. Hi. I did read GAPS, but it was maybe 3 years ago. I actually use the starches sometimes to sub for eggs, but other times use flax, etc. For convenience, most of the time I use starches, however. These days, in summer, I rarely bake so besides whole grains, my son gets almost no starch at all. For treats he mainly has coconut oil or seed or nut butter based treats.

      He actually can have egg yolks, but I need to be really careful to get the white completely off as that appears to be one of his worst allergies. By allergies, I assume you noticed that he has life threatening ones. I am not sure that I have seen data of life threatening allergies clearing up w/ GAPS but perhaps I am mistaken.

      I do recall that one of her concerns was that it is a rough diet to deal with, and leans heavily on honey and she is very negative on sugars. I concur w/ her on that point. But I am open to being corrected. But there was another issue and I am not remembering what that is.

      I have heard from a number of parents that the diet did nothing for them but again, I am willing to try. If you have data on life threatening allergies and GAPS or the percentage of children w/ autism and Asperger’s who see noticeable improvement that would be much appreciated. Thanks! Also, I wonder about GAPS compared to SCD and what the rationale would be for one over the other. I have read some impressive things about SCD as well. Thanks!

  6. Adrienne,

    According to Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, the reason your son likely HAS those allergies is due to a gut dysbiosis, in which the undigested food particles enter the bloodstream through tiny holes in the intestinal lining. When that happens, your son’s T cells (the second layer of immune defense), go nuts and attack the food, and sometimes his own body. The particular sort of T cell that attacks this food is not intended to do battle in this way, and it over taxes the system, forcing the adrenals to work overtime, and making it hard for a body to detox toxic substances or grow at the same time. Not all people will exhibit all of the same symptoms. Some have especially pronounced allergies to food and environment, and some have more neurological issues like autism spectrum disorders, or even things like MS.

    In all the reading I have done on anxiety, and gut dysbiosis, the only real way to heal the issue is to go to the source. You may find then that the GABA helps him better. We used it for a while ourselves. It can’t work if the adrenal gland is too over taxed, or if the body cannot properly absorb it, as in gut dysbiosis.

    The hardest part about GAPS, is the starting of it. Because it seems like this HUGE mountain to climb. (I have 5 kids 9 and under, believe me I was LOATHE to change my routine.) It was hard, but actually I think with food allergies it is sometimes easier, GAPS is a restrictive diet, but you have already been restricting his diet. There are lots of people who restrict eggs on the GAPS diet. I am not familiar with your blog enough to know what other allergies he has, but it can be done.

    I would encourage you to take the plunge. It’s a hard thing at first, but it gets easier the longer you do it. Don’t start with the Intro Diet, start with full GAPS minus the foods your son is allergic to, then back in, or ease into the Intro when you’re ready.

    1. Thanks for the advice. I have been thinking about GAPS but am not sure where to go w it. He can’t have dairy, egg white, most nuts, peanuts or sesame. And then honey – I don’t think there is any way he could tolerate the honey due to candida.

      I am open, but not sure it is doable. There is something that my practitioner said concerned her about GAPS but I don’t recall what it was. I am going to email her again about that. If you have any thoughts I am open.

      So you are saying GAPS won’t work if there is adrenal taxing?

      Why is that? Thanks.

  7. We have had a miracle too. My daughter is just shy of her 5th birthday. Last year she was high strung, anxious and irritable. She has Sensory Processing Disorder. She was violent, had tantrums inexplicably, and was having a hard time verbalizing her needs/wants.She was also a whole year behind in physical growth (wearing size 3T clothes, on the bottom of the chart, last line).

    We started the GAPS diet on her birthday last year, and in weeks she was less irritable, less anxious and more verbal. She went from just having total meltdowns to telling me that her zipper bothered her, or her carseat straps bothered her. Things she couldn’t articulate even one month before.

    By six months she had gained one year’s worth of growth and is now wearing a size 5 slim (10months on GAPS). She was once very anxious, always had a worried look on her face, never smiled, cried and fussed alot, scared of water and other things. Now she runs through the house SMILING, and gets wet with joy.

    The miracle is so incredible. I thank GOD every day for bringing her out of her “prison” and restoring her health. I hope others find what their child needs and can experience the same wonderful feelings and joy I and my daughter have found.

    1. I should also point out that she was unable to handle things like a boat ride, a cave (big underground thing for touring), or loud noises. No touching her, etc. She no longer has ANY of those symptoms. No one in their right mind would classify her as SPD these days. She still has some small bouts of anxiety, and I can’t reintroduce regular foods yet. But GAPS is supposed to last two years, and she has only been on it for one. She no longer even complains about seatbelts etc most of the time. Still thinks a tiny scratch is a big ordeal though.

      Her change is like night and day, I can barely believe it. Sometimes I can hardly believe she is the same person. All of my extended family members and all of our church and homeschooling group have noticed a difference. Its incredible.

      1. Wow. I am still considering this. It would be a very big deal for us w/ his multiple food allergies but I am willing to try. Thank you and so glad to hear of your victories.

  8. I found you through your post over at the Nourishing Gourmet and am so glad I did! Our oldest son, who’s almost ten, also has Asperger’s. He also has very high copper levels, low zinc, high mercury, and adrenal fatigue. I have some adrenal issues as well. Thank God we have been eating a very nourishing and healthy diet for years. I simply cannot imagine how much worse things would be if we hadn’t. But it’s all so overwhelming at times, and the stress of daily life… well, you understand, I think. I look forward to reading more on your blog and looking around some here. I saw your comment above about GAPS… we did that for a year. Let me know if I can be of any help! (BTW, it didn’t seem to help my son, but I know it didn’t hurt him. AND, it healed my husband from depression so it was completely worthwhile!) Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks. Very interesting about GAPS. I think it would be VERY stressful for my son, but I am willing to try. I don’t think honey is a great idea for him though w/ all the sugar in it. And I do understand. Some stress I put on myself and I need to let that go. Stay in touch.

  9. Hi Adrienne-

    It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Glad to hear some progress has been made.

    It’s been low and slow for Moose, but we’ve slowed with biomed, and have kicked up homeopathy. Have you read the books Impossible Cure and Autism without Despair? They’ve changed the course of treatment for us.

    Let’s chat soon.

    1. Hi. Yes – I thought about you the other day. Insomnia city here. Stinks. Son’s anxiety is the pits and yet he handled those fireworks. Go figure.

      I did read the first one. Not the second. Keep me posted. I am not sure what to do next. He is better in so many ways….worse in anxiety. I am considering GAPS or going off grains and another lead I got from my blog. But I need to sleep or it’s all dead in the water. How are you doing? I am thinking I have too much going on plus maybe eating meat for dinner. Not sure but it seems to be the issue.

  10. I deal with anxiety as an adult (driving fast/flying), and I don’t have a clue about my copper levels. How are you removing the copper?

  11. SO wonderful to read this, Adrienne! Congrats all around. I hope that by next year, there are even more anxieties conquered. Big hugs! 🙂

    1. Thanks, friend!!! I could use a hug – the trials continue. There are some real victories though. Take care!

  12. My son’s autism started out as classic autism;head banging, lying on the floor “tantruming” non-verbal til in therapeutic day school started at age 2yrs,9mos. Just before birth to three started, as in the year before. Anxiety is a huge part of this type of autism, too. Now 26, he’s been unemployed for most of the last 19 months. He worked full-time for 13 months but it became too stressful and he kept trying too long so as not to disappoint and it’s really set him back. I think the fireworks attendance, even with ear muffs, was amazing! You’ll never know why, just enjoy it is. Our parenting is hard work and it doesn’t get easier with adulthood. I pray your son doesn’t develop the often comorbid psychiatric disorders that come with adolescence/adulthood as my son has. I rejoice with you.

    1. Thanks for sharing. I am frightened to ask what has occurred w/ your husband. My son’s anxiety frightens me now. Thanks. You can share if you wish.

  13. Amazing!! My son has PDD and has had issues with anxiety I recently found out that he has toxoplasma gondii parasite which could be the main culprit in his perception of things. I took him to see Dr. Hugh Smith in Carlsbad, CA. He is a research doctor in vital hematology. He told me all of my son’s health problems in 5 minutes! I highly recommend him. My son also had pertussis and pneumonococal(spell check!)infections. he does not prescribe drugs. He told me to give him colloidal silver for 2 days and the infections are gone! We are working on the parasite now with Cumanda and we’ve seen increased vocabulary, less anxiety and more eye contact! We also do the GAPS diet and the Son-Rise Program too!

  14. Wow!! What an amazing answer to prayer! My five year old son is developmentally delayed without a definitive diagnosis. Autism has been suggested at a possibility but no one will confirm it yet. Milestones are few and far between… it is a hard road to walk. Praying for you and your family. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks. I struggle w/ sharing a lot about this but it is my heart. And my son is blessed reading the comments that perhaps we have helped someone. Did you read my other autism posts? I would read Facing Autism for sure. It really helped me.

  15. Wow thank you for the inspiration today! It perked up my mommy ears. My oldest son has troubles. When he was younger I thought he might have autism and those around me would shake thier heads and say no I don’t see it. Maybe it is aspergers. He gets very nervous and talks out alot. Some of what I am reading is soooooo familiar. He gets so anxious at times. Vitamin B complex helps. He is not severe by any means, but sometimes your mommy senses kick in gear. Sometimes a mommy just knows when others do not. I will have to read up a little and see if we can’t find some better strageties for dealing with it.

    1. Hi Melanie. I asked dr’s for years about autism and didn’t get my diagnosis ’til he was almost 7. Blessings and hope to see you around again!

  16. Has your son been tested for MTHFR ? People with MTHFR have a hard time methylating out heavy metals, pestacides, toxins etc. I saw one study today that said that 97% of people with Aspergers and Autism have MTHFR.

    1. Yes. It’s a problem. My practitioner thinks that taking care of the metals will help deal with this. Thanks!!!

  17. This is wonderful Adrienne. I think it’s so very important to celebrate every improvement/miracle we see along this journey!

    1. Thanks Maria. I need to really focus on this one. My son had a particularly bad day so I need to really think about this when he is not doing well.

  18. I am glad to see the list of things you have done for your son, for anxiety. I have a seven year old daughter with PTSD and anxiety. I will be trying some of these ideas. Thanks!

  19. That’s awesome. My son has CP and sensory processing disorder. He is very anxious. We watched fireworks from very far away. He won’t go near even with headphones, but we concurred the a big box store with an iPod and headphones !!!