Hello CreatorHealth family! Today, I am excited to share the incredibly powerful and inspiring story of Annie Elainey. Annie is an up and coming YouTuber I have been following for a few months now. Annie has an incredibly powerful story and documents the journey through the ups and downs of living with EDS (see more on EDS below). As you will see in Annie's videos, Annie is an incredibly strong, thoughtful and compassionate YouTuber. Annie is wise beyond years, and has become a source of inspiration in my life. The most important lesson I learned from Annie is the uniqueness of each mental health journey. My biggest takeaway from hearing Annie's story is that the mental health journey is multi-faceted. So often people try to pinpoint a single problem, when in fact, we as humans have complex, but beautiful backgrounds and histories and emotions and brain waves that define who we are as people. Each of us have a mental health background that has depth and history and cannot just be boxed into a single word like anxiety or depression. Often our struggle is much deeper than that.
That is why Annie created #ThisIsMyEDS Tag. The tag provides Annie and others an opportunity to share the uniqueness of each of their personal stories. For me, CreatorHealth.org has one mission. Our goal is to help people who are struggling gain the confidence they need to start YouTube channel's and share their stories. I believe the process of telling your story through video is incredibly therapeutic and can help you start on a path towards recovery Thanks to great mental health advocates and community leaders, like Annie, we have heroes we can look up to and learn from. Annie is nothing short of a hero, and I hope you will have time to check out her channel soon!
1. Annie, for those of us new to your channel, please tell us about yourself?
Hi! My name is Annie Segarra and also go by Annie Elainey which is my channel name. I identify as a queer disabled woman of color, I am a creator, artist, and activist. I use social media platforms like YouTube to create content in efforts to creatively express myself and share my narrative, how my intersectional life experience shapes my feelings, observations, and obstacles.
2. What is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome? How has it changed your physical and mental health?
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (or EDS) is a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects one's joints, blood vessels, skin, and internal organs and there are about 6 different types that I know of, I have classical type (or cEDS). It often physically manifests itself with velvet soft and fragile skin, joint hyper mobility (causing hyper extension and lack of joint stability, increase of joint fragility, frequent dislocations and subluxations, and chronic pain), and other comorbid conditions including dysautonomia, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal, lung, or heart issues.
I didn't know I had it until my mid-20s when it started to intensely impact my health and abilities and not until after a treacherous journey of dismissal and gas lighting, I had to fight to be tested and diagnosed. Throughout my life, I've had mild symptoms and hypermobility in my joints but it was around 3 years ago that my joints really started to lose their stability making many physical tasks incredibly difficult and very painful, chronic pain throughout my body has become a constant while the pain levels are fluid.
3. What inspired you to share your mental health journey on YouTube? Have you found it to be therapeutic?
Originally, I started talking about my mental health in the context of my Body Dysmorphic Disorder when I was still identifying as able-bodied and was doing well in my recovery. I think the first video I made on the topic was on my first really euphoric body positive day, an excellent day for my mental health and from there I discussed my recovery methods and advocating for body positivity and self-confidence. Expressing myself was in part very cathartic but I also always had the intent that any progress I made might be helpful to someone else if I shared it. I want to be honest and share my perspectives and experiences but I also want to put good things out there, not anything that would hurt someone, which is why I avoid posting on any really bad mental health days (regarding depression, anxiety, and BDD) besides reaching out.
4. What is your favorite part of YouTube? How do you craft your stories, and turn vision into reality?
My favorite part of creating for YouTube is the freedom and control, we can express ourselves practically, however we like, with a few safety boundaries of course, and my favorite type of content to watch is other people sharing their stories and perspectives; learning from them, gaining new perspectives, it really is the most wonderful thing.
My process is often that I journal my thoughts and try to compose it in an efficient manner. As a person that often feels misunderstood I look at video content as an opportunity to try to express myself as clearly and creatively as I can. There are a few times when I just turn on the camera and say what's on my mind, it can be quite raw and take a lot of time, but that kind of vulnerable contact also has a history of making a great impact, so I'm proud to make it.
5. For those who have a story to tell, but are too nervous to start a YouTube channel, what piece of advice would you give?
My speedy advice is always to just go for it, everyone is nervous, everyone's first video is one they feel they could improve upon later, and you can, and you will, when it comes to content creation we will often have to reiterate and recycle old topics and ideas and improve upon them, but you can't improve on something if you don't start!
Some practical advice is to try and invest in a decent camera with a decent mic, get the video quality to the best you can manage, use natural window sunlight on your face if you can, works great! And attempt journaling some topics you'd like to discuss, helps you get your thoughts organized and having some text ready is also helpful in the captioning process. (Also please caption your videos before publishing them, keep your content accessible to all possible viewers!)
6. We love your channel! What do we have to look forward to? Anything exciting coming soon?
Thanks so much! I hope to reach my first 10k subscribers soon! That'll be exciting! I also hope to be opening up my own online shop soon with my own personal designs and art and besides that more true to life content as I go, more art, music, and rants about life and injustices that need correcting, haha!