Sam Thompson has recently been diagnosed with ADHD, and it’s been a major relief for the former Made In Chelsea star as he previously worried that he might have been a ‘bad person.’
The 30-year-old has made a career being a loveable (and very posh) person on TV and then transitioning from reality to creating viral social media videos doing everything from modelling older sister Louise Thompson’s clothes, to forcing Pete Wicks to learn dance routines and pranking girlfriend Zara McDermott.
He also presents Hits UK radio interviewing big stars including Lizzo and Niall Horan, and hosts the official Love Island podcast, The Morning After.
He may have seemed confident, and completely content but behind the scenes he’s had niggling doubts.
Throughout much of his life, Sam thought something was different about him, but wasn’t able to ‘put my finger on it.’
That has now all changed, as a recent diagnosis of ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) has led to an epiphany, and is the focus of a new E4 documentary, Sam Thompson: Is This ADHD?:
‘One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m not a d**k,’ he told Metro.co.uk.
‘I know it sounds ridiculous but I always used to think, “Why can’t I just listen to people?” I’ve learned to give myself a little bit more leeway.’
These thoughts have been a part of Sam since childhood and he’d even ‘cry into textbooks’ out of frustration while at school: ‘I would love to tell my younger self that it’s not his fault, and you are a good person.’
Sam felt particularly frustrated while trying to engage in conversation with his girlfriend of four years – former Love Island star Zara, 26.
‘There are times when I’m talking to Zara and I’m trying to listen so hard, but I can’t. It must suck for her to be in a conversation and know I’m not really engaging,’ he explained.
‘I used to wonder, “Why am I so self-obsessed? Why can’t I care what you’re saying?” I felt like a bad boyfriend. It’s a relief to know there’s a reason behind it.
He added: ‘I’m lucky that Zara is the most understanding person.’
Sam decided to do something about it when he reached a milestone birthday, and he’s very glad that he did.
‘When I hit 30 I had this moment where I decided to figure myself out a little bit more, and put my finger on what was different.
‘It wasn’t one bad day but more an accumulation of things. I misplace things. I’m quite bad at messaging my friends back. I turn up late to events. I’m a fully grown adult, but I struggle with paying the bills.
‘I’ll get sent parking tickets, and then I’ll feel overwhelmed at the process of paying them so then I get further fines.
‘It’s terrifying. I get really panicky. It feels like the world is ending. I spiral out of control.’
‘Simple’ tasks can feel like a challenge for Sam, and he turns to Zara for assistance, he explained.
‘Even booking a flight can be hard because the second another tab pops up, I get overwhelmed. The wheels fall off, and Zara will have to step in to do it. I’m aware that I find things hard that other people find easy.’
Sam recalls the moment he was finally diagnosed with ADHD, which was filmed for his new documentary.
‘I didn’t really know how I was going to feel. It’s weird. I was there for around seven hours getting assessed,’ he said.
‘By the end of it, you’re quite emotionally spent. I like talking about myself, but this was a lot, and I was so drained.
‘It was quite an emotional thing too. I’m not usually a crier, but I got a bit emotional. It was a big relief, and I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.’
Sometimes the negatives of having ADHD can be focused on, but Sam also wants to shine a light on how the condition has benefited him.
‘For me, I’ve found that when I really enjoy the thing I’m doing then my ADHD becomes my superpower. I can become hyper-focused,’ he explained.
‘I love being a radio host, and I’ll turn up for meetings early with lots of ideas. I run my Instagram almost like an advertising company. I think some of the videos are high enough quality for TV. I take it really seriously and draft out my ideas on a whiteboard. I love being creative.
‘On the flip side, when I don’t enjoy something it’s incredibly hard so I’m lucky to have a fun career.’
Being in the right place at the right time helped Sam land his reality star occupation.
‘I only fell into it this dream career. I was working as a bartender at a pub, and one of the Made In Chelsea producers walked in. We got talking and I told them my sister Louise was on their show, and they invited me to film.
‘I think for me having ADHD works well with reality TV. I love energy and when exciting things are happening. I think it makes me more charismatic.’
He points out that while there are ‘low points,’ he is lucky that he’s always ‘surrounded by family and friends, and the aftercare team on E4 are amazing.’
Sam was able to go private with his assessment for ADHD, something that not everyone can afford to do as it can cost thousands of pounds, and he acknowledges this, insisting it ‘absolutely needs to change.’
‘The NHS are obviously struggling at the moment anyway, and it’s so tough.’
Sam is ‘incredibly proud’ of his documentary, which covers his journey to diagnosis and the aftermath, but he is already thinking about the next steps.
‘I hope I help someone with this documentary and I’m so glad I got the opportunity but now I’d really like to see someone from a less privileged background take this narrative down a different pathway which I’m sure E4 are open to doing.
‘I have neurodiversity, but the privilege that I have makes it a lot easier to manage.
‘I’m not the cleverest person in the world, so I wouldn’t know where to start with lobbying for change but I would like to be involved in that space if I was given the opportunity. It’s a cause incredibly close to my heart.’
Now, Sam, who has chosen not to take medication as he didn’t enjoy the way it made him feel, is focused on continuing to grow as a person for the people he loves through therapy and coping mechanisms such as time sheets and fidget toys.
‘Just because I’ve now got a diagnosis doesn’t mean I’m not going to work on improving myself.
‘I want to be better because I love my girlfriend, I love my friends, I love the people I care about and I want them to feel like I’m trying.
‘I don’t want to be like, “This is not my fault, so you’ve all got to deal with it”. I still want to be the best person I can be.’
What is ADHD?
NHS describes ADHD as ‘a condition that affects people’s behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating, and may act on impulse.’
Is it often diagnosed in childhood, but in some cases isn’t recognised until adulthood.
‘Research has also identified a number of possible differences in the brains of people with ADHD when compared with those without the condition.
Other factors suggested as potentially having a role in ADHD include:
- being born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy)
- having a low birth weight
- smoking or alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy.’
For children, treatments include ‘appropriate educational support, advice and support for parents and affected children, alongside medicine, if necessary.’
For adults, ‘medicine is often the first treatment offered, although psychological therapies may also help.’
‘Sam Thompson: Is This ADHD?’ Will be coming to E4 and All4 on 8th May at 9pm
Got a story?
If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us [email protected], calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.
Source: Read Full Article