I grew up in Skye and then moved to Norfolk in 2002. I had a really normal childhood without any health problems until 2011 when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I then had major surgery for a stoma in 2016 which was a huge shock to me but I am really glad I had this done. As well as being Chronically Ill I am also known as Genderfluid. Being genderfluid is really hard to explain, in simple terms I am me, both sides of ash are equally me, I hid this part of me of many years and it really affected my mental heath and I hated my body. This led to self harming and Depression. If you aren’t sure what Genderfluid means, it means that a person who is Genderfluid doesn’t go by a fixed gender so being male or female, they can be both hence the “fluid”.
I have had many challenges thrown at me during my life, the biggest challenge going through all the symptoms that comes along with Crohns Disease. The weight gain is the worst.. before Crohn’s I was 7 stone, steroids soon changed that! I’ve never been able to lose it and I’m 14 stone now. I haven’t always had the best care from doctor’s which I am sure many people with a Chronic Illness have experienced! I was on steroids for two years straight before a doctor mentioned Osteoporosis so a bone scan was booked and the results had shown that I had developed it in my back and hip from being on steroids too long. Another hurdle I’ve had to face is pain killer addiction due to the severity of the pain I was in daily, taking 50 pills per day just to get me through and attempt to help with everything I had going on. This wasn’t helped due to being handed stronger and stronger pain medication without any questions asked or a real pain management plan/checkup.
If I wasn’t Chronically Ill I would be making plans to follow in my fathers footsteps of a career in the army. I’m now 30 and luckily I have been blessed to have a daughter and I have a partner now who accepts me being genderfluid and we have been together since 2008. My girlfriend Helen has been there the most for me, everything that I have gone through, Helen has been there. I love to travel to my favourite places and so far I have travelled to Edinburgh and Lowestoft. I love nature, nothing beats the feeling and buzz of being truly lost in a forest surrounded by gorgeous trees and scenery. I am also a Christian which has helped me throughout life. Being Christian and Genderfluid is not a big thing to me, god made me as I am.
If you are struggling with any of the issues talked about in this blog please visit the LGBT Foundation, IBD Superheros or speak to your doctor who can offer support and advice. You can find Ashley on his instagram here.