Saved By My Party Nails

ASMR star Jade's videos helped heal her Crohn's disease
  • YouTube star Jade Scarborough, 25, suffers from debilitating Crohn’s disease.
  • Posting colourful ASMR videos online, tapping her rhinestone nails on shoes, teeth, plastic spoons and combs helped her heal.
  • Now her YouTube channel and TikTok is loved by thousands around the globe.

Here Jade tells her story in her own words.

Curling up into a foetal position I cried out in pain, tears streaming down my cheeks.

This can’t be period cramps, I thought.

Try as I might to ignore the pain, it just got worse.

From the age of 16 I’d suffered with food sensitivity. Mum and Dad discovered I was dairy intolerant, and worried as I was permanently sluggish.

Putting the tiredness down to being a teen, I never went to the doctor.

But since I moved out of home, I’d deteriorated. Pineapples, kiwifruit and other foods kicked off an attack of stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

At work in my office job, the stress got to me.

Back at home with my boyfriend KJ, then 23, as soon as I ate, my stomach twisted in knots. 

Unable to sleep at night for the pain, I trawled the internet for ASMR – or autonomous sensory meridian response – videos. They show people making tapping, rustling and other sounds such as hushed whispers.

Instantly relaxing and calming, the videos helped send me into a wonderfully deep sleep.

Jade with dogs Lucky and Sophie (Credit: Supplied)

‘In chronic pain, I gave up my job and barely left the house for months.’

In February 2020, I frowned when my fingers traced a strange pea-sized lump in my bottom. I hoped it’d go away. But within three days, the shooting pain was so severe I couldn’t sit.

When Mum visited me, she gasped.

‘You need to go to hospital,’ she said, rushing me to emergency.

There doctors diagnosed a perianal abscess.

‘It’s bad luck,’ the doctor said, suggesting it could be from sitting for long periods.

Doctors drained the abscess but, horrifically, it remained open and oozing pus. Things got so bad that I had no choice but to wear adult nappies.

In chronic pain, I gave up my job and barely left the house for months.

As doctors repeatedly drained the abscess, I sank into depression.

Jade and KJ (Credit: supplied)

‘‘If it gets too much for you, I understand if you want to leave me,’ I cried to KJ.’

‘If it gets too much for you, I understand if you want to leave me,’ I cried to KJ in my darkest hour.

‘I love you. I’m not going anywhere,’ my rock said.

In July, late at night and barely able to sleep for pain, I balanced on a medicine ball, unable to sit because of the abscess, and grabbed a water bottle.

Without thinking, I tapped my brightly coloured acrylic stick-on nails rhythmically on the plastic.

The tap, tap, tap sent tingles all over my body, and I felt instantly calm.

Grabbing my phone, I videoed my tapping.

Can’t sleep at midnight, I wrote on the video, which I posted to YouTube.

From that moment on, I found myself grabbing household objects and tapping or scratching them. I’d pick up a shiny trainer and tap my jewel-coloured party nails on it. Or grab my eyeshadow and drum my fingers on the plastic packaging. I’d even run my hands over a diamanté purse.

Whenever I couldn’t sleep, I hid in the spare room and recorded a video. Tingles swept through me and I relaxed instantly.

Buying a microphone, I decorated it with sparkly gemstones and began posting videos once or twice a day. It felt like a secret diary. Even better, people were watching.

Jade and her party nails

‘As I posted more ASMR videos online – covering my nails in rhinestones… I felt so much better.’

‘I’m recording ASMR videos,’ I confided to KJ.

‘I wondered what you were doing in the spare room,’ he smiled, supportive as ever.

When I sat my parents down for a chat, they looked worried.

‘I’m running an ASMR channel. It’s like listening to rain on the rooftop,’ I explained.

‘We wondered what you were going to tell us,’ Dad laughed, relieved.

In November 2020, my gastroenterologist at Gold Coast University Hospital had more news.

‘You’ve got Crohn’s disease,’ he said, explaining it was a chronic inflammatory bowel condition resulting in diarrhoea, fatigue and malnutrition.

It was linked to perianal abcesses, too. I burst into tears wondering Why me?

Treatment involved four-hour infusions of medicines to try and control my condition.

But as I posted more ASMR videos online – covering my nails in rhinestones, tapping on my shoes, my teeth, plastic combs, using plastic spoons, and running my fingers over furry slippers, I felt so much better – and less alone.

Celebrating 100K subscribers (Credit: Supplied)

‘I’ve got 178,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel ASMR JADE and 3.2 million ‘likes’ on TikTok.’

As I shared my health journey, followers messaged me in droves.

Your videos mean so much to me, people wrote.

I discovered stress is a huge trigger for Crohn’s, and when my dog Lucky died in January 2022 I was devastated. But posting ASMR videos helped me cope with the immense sadness.

Five months later, I left my job to work on my channel full time. And in August I was amazed to hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Incredibly, I was getting paid thanks to sponsorship deals with brands and the ads that ran between my clips. I was getting emails from all over the world, as far as Dubai and Oklahoma, US.

After 10 medical procedures on my abscess, last Christmas Eve my gastroenterologist had news. ‘You’re in a good spot,’ he said.

To my joy, I read in his notes I was in clinical remission. It was the best Christmas present ever.

My channel continues to grow, and  I’m now a full-time ASMR creator.

My other pup, Sophie, and KJ sometimes star in my videos too.

Now I’ve got 178,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel ASMR JADE and 3.2 million ‘likes’ on TikTok.

It blows my mind that my party nails pay my bills. And having a chronic illness, it’s wonderful I can work from home.

ASMR has helped my journey to health. And if I can help one person with my videos, it’s all been worth it.

Related stories