top of page

TV personality Sam Thompson: Anxiety used to make me ‘think I was dying’ before I realised what was going on

Sam Thompson talks about ADHD awareness, and why having a laugh with a mate is key for his wellbeing. By Rikki Loftus.

The King of the Jungle has learned a lot about managing his wellbeing (Matt Alexander/PA)

Sam Thompson says not a day goes by when he isn’t stopped in the street by someone thanking him for talking out about ADHD.

The TV personality and former Made In Chelsea star revealed last year he’d been diagnosed with the condition, going on to film Channel 4 documentary, Is This ADHD?

“It’s always a kid, or a mum or a dad with a kid, which I think is so awesome, and they’ll say, ‘My kid looks up to you – they love the fact they’ve got ADHD or they’re neurodiverse, thank you so much’, and it’s so cool,” says Thompson, 31, who describes getting diagnosed as a “weight” being lifted.

“I never thought that was going to be the case. I’ve never had anyone look up to me before.”

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which can affect people’s behaviour and tends to cause difficulty with things like concentration, time management and impulse control) is usually noticeable in childhood. But recently, there’s been growing awareness of the fact many people don’t get diagnosed until later in life.

Thompson adds: “I think ADHD is a superpower, I really, really do. So, I really hope and want people to view it that way and not be ashamed. I’m glad I’ve got it.”

After struggling with anxiety in his youth, he believes openness is what’s helped him understand his own mental health better.

“I think it was just not really knowing what you were going through [that was so hard before]. If you had anxiety, you’d be sat there going, ‘Why do I feel like this? Why do I have heart palpitations? Why can’t I sleep?’” Thompson explains.

“I used to think I was dying. I always used to feel really anxious, and then talk about it and feel better. I think as I got older, I started realising what’s what a little bit more, I get this now.”

Being surrounded by ‘awesome’ people and having a good laugh with his mates are both important for Thompson, who was crowned King of the Jungle after taking part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! last year.

“I like connecting with people, for me that has always been a massive, massive thing, and I’m very lucky that I am surrounded by people I can have a laugh with,” says the TV personality and radio presenter.

“I’m very lucky to have an eclectic group of pals. I’ve got some people who I went to school with years ago, I’ve got my best mate Pete, I’ve got my girlfriend [former Love Island contestant Zara McDermott], I’ve got my lovely family.

“There’s always someone in some aspect of your life where – let’s say I’m in a bad work moment, where I go and talk to a mate, who has no idea about what you do, but you go and have a laugh and play a game of FIFA. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I personally go and just find people who are the antithesis of the problem that I’m having, and it really helps me,” says Thompson.

“I’m very lucky because I’ve got a lot of awesome people around me.”

He agrees laughter really is the best medicine – so it makes sense he recently teamed up with Babybel on a campaign ahead of this year’s Red Nose Day (March 15), encouraging the nation to ‘share a giggle’.

Sam Thompson teamed up with Babybel on their ‘share a giggle’ campaign for Red Nose Day (Matt Alexander/PA)

New research by Babybel shows that nearly half (48%) of Brits feel sharing a giggle with friends helps their wellbeing more than exercise (40%). According to the brand’s survey, people also ranked having a laugh with mates as more beneficial to their wellbeing than reading (31%) and eating out (28%).

Thompson admits he found laughter was the best way to get through being cooped up in the I’m A Celebrity jungle.

“I loved that there were so many people in such a small, confined space that it’s very easy to have such fun moments. I would go back tomorrow if I could, and I’d spend three months with the same people,” he says.

Thompson was crowned King of the Jungle last year (Alamy/PA)

Over the years, he has become more aware of the things in his life that benefit his wellbeing, he reveals, and since turning 30 now pays extra attention to them.

“I know it sounds odd but for my wellbeing, I genuinely believe that if I get eight hours sleep then I’m just a far better person. I just genuinely feel that, and I think sleep is underrated. I feel like I talk a lot and that’s good for my mental wellbeing as well, because I feel like if I bottled things up, then I just wouldn’t be able to deal with stuff very well,” he continues.

“And as cliché as it sounds, I go to the gym, I love a gym workout, I love a run. It’s nice to work towards something that’s trying to be healthy, or to be the best version of yourself, and I’ve only just started really doing that at the age of 30.”

Sam Thompson has teamed up with Babybel to celebrate its 25-year partnership with Comic Relief by sharing giggles and donations for this years Red Nose Day. Visit


South Wales Mag-250x250.jpg
Cardiff Speedway.jpg
Brecon County Show.jpg
bottom of page