Nine times Shannon Palmer attempted to commit suicide. “I was angry at God for a very long time,” she said. “They were surprised that I lived,” she said. She searched Google to find the right dose to snuff her life while she slept.
A daddy’s girl despite his drug addiction, Shannon Palmer was hit hard by her father’s abandonment when she was seven. Her mom slipped on a patch of ice in a parking garage in Colorado and injured her back. The resulting lifelong pain is what drove the single mother and two kids to church, hoping for a miracle.
“I was angry at God for a very long time,” Shannon said. “I was one of those ones who felt like I had to be re-saved over and over and over to be forgiven. God didn’t become real for me until three years ago.”
Mom worked three jobs until she met and married a “rescue dad,” who gave the kids their first Christmas. Her brother took his last name, Shannon did not, to the chagrin of the family. She wanted to keep a relationship with her biological father. Years later she finally took the last time, upsetting her biological dad.
“I still hoped to have the love of my father even though he was never there for me,” Shannon said.
She developed obsessive-compulsive disorder. Until she was diagnosed, she didn’t understand some of her behavior. “My family got so frustrated with me. They said they felt like they were walking on egg shells around me.”
“I prayed to Jesus, ‘Please take me. I want to be with you.’ I just wanted it to be over,” she said.
Next, Shannon moved to Bellingham, Washington, to pursue her veterinary passion at school. By now she was self-mutilating. She isolated herself from the world, sleeping 14 hours a day, and worked for a very supportive veterinary office. Eventually, she received her license as a technician, the RN of animals.
She didn’t encounter much help at church. “When I went to the small groups at church, they got freaked out,” she said. “They told me, ‘We’re sorry. We don’t feel comfortable with you here. You’re going to have to go somewhere else.’”
In 2011, she moved back to California when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Suffering severe depression, she submitted to electric shock therapy 21 times. It did no good. The anger would always simmer over, and her go-to relief mechanism was either cutting or suicide.
One day she was under the influence of another mega dose, driving from Dana Point to Oceanside, and slammed into a pole. Her gas tank punctured, and fuel spilled everywhere. Luckily, it was raining.
Shannon believes God saved her life that night. She was taken to a psychiatric hospital where nurses held her down so they could inject her. She stayed a month.
A far-reaching change for the positive came in 2014. At a Good Friday service, the pastor encouraged people to write their worst sin on a paper and go up to the front and nail it to a wooden cross. Shannon wrote “attempted suicide” on the paper.
“After that, I was so emotional. I remember crying. On the way home, I was thanking God for sending Jesus. He loved us so much to forgive us,” she said, crying.
Shannon recently went on her first medical mission organized by the Door Bilingual School of Guatemala. She was bubbly, vivacious, helpful and hard-working at the clinic in the City of Coban with Lighthouse Medical Missions . Had she not shared her testimony, no one would have realized her dark past. The other volunteers hugged her and supported her.
Shannon shed 130 pounds in one year. She is down to two meds to normalize the chemical imbalance in her life. Things are looking up. She cries at telling her testimony. She has come a long way out of the dark chambers of despair and hopelessness.
For the first time in her life, she’s thinking about marriage.
“I never wanted love from a man before,” she said. “Because of what my dad did, I figured they’d always leave me. I always hurt the men before they could hurt me. But now since I’ve seen my step dad being committed to my mom, and seeing men of God in the church, I find that I want to get married and think it would be possible.”