LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - On the outside, 23 year-old Amber Dunn looks like every other woman her age but her story will show how music can change someone from the inside-out.
Dunn picks up her guitar and begins to play in the Mixing Room Studio in Nacogdoches, pouring her heart and soul out. For Dunn, just to be in the studio is an accomplishment.
In November of 2015, Dunn would hit rock bottom. It all started with anxiety over a test at school and ended with her lying on a mattress, not wanting to get up and having thoughts of suicide.
"It started off with just panic attacks so I went to the ER," Dunn said. "I was diagnosed with insomnia. Well one medicine after another I kept having a bad reaction to it and I kept having suicidal thoughts."
It was later learned that the medicines were causing the thoughts instead of suppressing them.
"These were thoughts that I never had before and it was really scary," Dunn said. "I knew I needed help."
Dunn and her family went to a facility in Texas where she was diagnosed as bi-polar.
"It was scary," Dunn said. "At first I thought bi-polar, 'Oh no, my life is over.' that doesn't mean your life is over. If it was bi-polar I would have to deal with that and it was a new scary thing."
Dunn would start to question her faith during the dark times.
"I said, 'I don't know about this God thing,'" Dunn said. "I'm so frustrated and so confused. I was just like I don't know if I believe anymore. What do i believe any more? My brain was just in this weird spot."
Dunn had concerns over the diagnosis, so the family went to Methodist Hospital in Houston. Dunn would discover that she was not bi-polar.
"They said I had OCD with intrusive thoughts," Dunn said. "You can have intrusive thoughts where your brain plays tricks with you. It's thoughts you want to get rid of and they intrude on you. They are an unwanted guest."
Dunn's diagnosis was expanded to panic and anxiety disorders as well as depression.
Through the discouragement and dark times, Dunn would look to her first love, music.
"I told myself I'm going into the studio no matter how cruddy I feel, no matter how depressed I feel and we are getting this album done," Dunn said.
The first song Dunn would finish with sound engineer Jimmy Taylor was "Relentless Love". It is a song filled with lyrics like, "Good enough, that's what I try to be for far too long, but I'm finding out that's not really me." to the listener, you would think the song was written while Dunn was struggling through her emotions, but Dunn wrote the song months before her first suicidal thought. Dunn said as she belted out the lyrics she realized God had a plan for her song.
"These were words I didn't know were written for me," Dunn said. "I thought I was going to change the world, but it was like God was changing me."
Dunn continues to work in the studio, looking to inspire others as she walks deeper into a bright future and further away from darkness.
"There is a misconception that people are, I guess, freaks," Dunn said. "I think it is hard because a lot of times as Christians we don't want to admit we have struggles. If you are going through anything like this please go get help. Don't be ashamed to ask for help. Tell people what is going on in your mind because people love and care for you"
Dunn expects the "Relentless Love" EP album to be done by the end of the year.
To learn more about Amber Dunn and her music, click here.