(Gina Adams) — Over six million people suffer from panic attacks each year, with women being twice as likely as men to develop them. Nearly two million people have an advanced condition known as agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder in which people fear and avoid places or situations that might cause panic and make them feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. In her new book, “Soul Mend: Discover Spiritual and Emotional Health,” Dr. Luann Dunnuck shares her own personal story of suffering with panic attacks for over two decades, as well as being agoraphobic for over a year, which kept her a prisoner in her own home.
“I would have severe panic attacks just to go to the grocery store or church,” says Dunnuck. “Fear and panic consumed my days and nights. I would spend the next several years seeking God on the different areas of my life that were causing these issues. My life has been like an onion with God pulling away layers of negativity a little at a time. Years later, my physical body began to wear out due to years of intense fear. I was diagnosed with severe adrenal fatigue and for a year I was too weak to leave my home, I did not even have the energy to yawn. God revealed to me the connection between toxic emotions and a toxic body. I did recover from that sickness, and God exchanged a physical malady with a treasure chest of His wisdom of how the body responds to toxic emotions. My journey has consistently been one of reliance on God’s never-ending love to restore me.”
The Center for Disease Control says that over 80% of sicknesses have a “stressor” at their core, and Dunnuck agrees. She says there are three sources of negative thoughts and there is a principal of agreement that keeps most people stuck in stress and toxic thinking.
“Negative thoughts typically come from traumatic or abusive experiences, inherited thinking patterns, or demonically-inspired thoughts,” says Dunnuck. “In my own personal journey, my fear and anxiety was a result of all three. I began to see that what I was agreeing with—such as negative thoughts and feelings—was coming to pass in my life. Part of my healing process was learning to renew my mind through God’s Word and apply scripture to my circumstances.”
Dunnuck says a little known scripture in Hosea has helped her appreciate the end result of all of the difficulties she has faced in her lifetime.
“In Hosea 2, God says ‘And I will speak tenderly and to her heart. There I will give her, her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor [troubling] to be for her a door of hope and expectation.’ It’s important to know that because of the challenges we have faced, new doors can open for us. It is because of the hardships that we have faced that we are better equipped to move forward. The Bible teaches us that we go from trouble to hope and expectation. It is the very troubles that we have experienced that can open the door to a new beginning.”