YouTube With A Disability is a monthly series on Graphic Organic where I interview a creator who has a chronic illness or disability. YouTube recently came out with a new policy. Only channels that have over 1,000 subscribers and a minimum of 4,000 minutes of watch time over the past year are now eligible for monetization, which means getting paid through ads. This affects so many small channels, definitely those people who need the money for medical bills. I want to help out by promoting those YouTubers on my blog. If you are interested in being featured, send me an e-mail or go to the contact page. There is only one rule: you need to have less than 1,000 subscribers.
The YouTuber of this month is Sarah Anne Shockley (The Pain Companion). Sarah is a single mom living in the San Francisco Bay area. In the fall of 2007 she was diagnosed with an unusually severe form of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).
Basically, the area between the collar bones and first rib collapsed, squeezing arteries, veins, muscles and nerve ganglia. This creates intense nerve pain in the neck, arms and hands which eventually spreads to the back, legs, and feet and also causes muscle weakness, lack of mobility and decreased functionality.
Her son was 10 when it came on her and keeping up with being a single parent was pretty challenging. Before she was hurt, she was very active and had a lot of hobbies like dance, kung fu, backpacking, and painting which she had to give up. She is now in her early 60’s and was only recently able again to do a little bit of artwork.
Sarah has always been interested in filming. Before she started her channel she used to make documentaries. One of her works is called: Dancing from the Inside Out which is about disabled dancing. With her illness however, she's unable to spend very much time on the computer, nor can she run around with cameras and lights to do shoots.
Sarah: "Creating short pieces for YouTube is a way I can indulge my love of filmmaking within my financial and physical limitations. I decided the best thing I could do would be to create little one-minute meditations for people in pain with positive images and inspiring messages, so that’s mainly what I do."
Shockley always loved YouTube and uses it as a substitute for Google because watching someone explain is easier for her than reading a long article. According to her, more people should focus on creating unique, original content instead of copying others. It's not about getting rich and monetizing everything.
Sarah: "I like the fact that I can reach people who are in too much pain to read or are simply not interested in reading blog posts. They can watch one of my videos and, hopefully, find a haven in the midst of their pain."
She puts a lot of energy and brain power into her videos which can be really hard while struggling with her health issues. Creating a meditation video requires a lot of work. It takes hours to find the right images, music and words. With spacing the work out over several days, she manages to upload once a month.
She is most proud of her first video called Chronic Pain: 9 Approaches To Healing. It looks at non-medical ways of making life easier while living with chronic pain. She got really positive feedback from viewers which was very gratifying.
Her goals for the future are to reach more viewers who are living with pain and feel like they’re stuck in that. other. Like no other, she understands the desperation and hopelessness that comes together with feeling stuck without any way out.
Sarah: "I want my videos to help people feel less alone in their pain, and to offer positive words and insights that may lift someone’s spirits and help them get through another day.."
She's also open to collab with anyone who is non-product related or is not restricted to a specific medical protocol.
And finally, her advice to people who want to start a channel: "I would say to find something you really feel strongly about expressing that you think will be helpful to others. We are all struggling with pain and most of us feel alone in that. What can you do that might help someone feel seen, validated, and understood that is uniquely yours to offer?"
Where to find Sarah: