My name is Holly, my pronouns are she/they. I am a 36-year-old person who has been suffering from ME/CFS for the past 25 years, and in the last year, Long Covid. This chronic illness affects my ability to exert any physical energy, so my hobbies are a bit limited. I really enjoy escapism as I don’t have energy to do much in the real world, so I enjoy playing computer games, reading books and watching films full of energy.
Like many trans people, I have faced a healthcare system that is discriminatory when it comes to access to healthcare. The maximum waiting time for NHS appointments is supposed to be 18 weeks, yet the GIC waiting time for me has been 3 years and counting. Additionally, as a disabled person my access to healthcare is further limited. My ability to walk anywhere, even before Long Covid, was already limited due to my ME/CFS. Every time I exerted any energy, it cost me a lot. If I went past my energy limits, I crashed and became bed bound for anywhere between a couple of days to weeks. People with more severe ME/CFS are bed bound for life.
I think, like with ME/CFS, some GPs don’t take trans healthcare seriously. I was not allowed medication or blood tests through my GP, but luckily, I found an NHS clinic called CliniQ that could offer me help. Sadly, it came at the cost of my health as it meant travelling for hours into London, which resulted in me crashing for days or weeks afterwards. The only way I could overcome this was to limit my exertions as much as possible, so as to hopefully limit the toll it would put on my energy limits. I did this by finding transport with seating, making sure I could have the ability to sit and rest for a while after any walking and taking food with me for energy. I am aware, however, that I’m lucky to live near a big city with these resources that others in the rest of the country do not have access to.
Things have sadly got worse with Long Covid, my energy limits have completely dwindled, and now I can’t walk more than 15 minutes without being completely wiped. Getting Covid also completely disrupted my trans healthcare. I couldn’t get out of bed, let alone go into London to receive treatment. I don’t believe anyone should pay for good healthcare, but like a lot of other trans people, I’ve found that private healthcare companies have been a lifeline. They gave me the option to receive medication through the post, as well as the ability to do home blood tests via kits they can send to your door. Being disabled, my access to work is limited, and I would say now I have Long Covid, finding work to fit around my disability is impossible. I am very lucky to have a loving partner who has a good enough job to support me and my healthcare costs. I really hope in the future that trans healthcare is free, fair and available to everybody and people won’t have to spend years waiting for it.