ADHD Symptoms Ambassador

This campaign is initiated
and funded by Takeda

Sam Hiew

Learning about my ADHD has allowed me to connect with people in a way I couldn’t before. I have the tools, techniques and mentors to make the most out of my life.

I’m the oldest girl in my family and have five siblings. As a young woman I felt like I had to set the example for my 2 brothers and 2 sisters, taking on caring responsibilities from a young age. I was intelligent, a trait I inherited from my dad, so early school life was fine. I channelled my energy into sports – you could always find me on the athletic track in school. This made me feel privileged as spending time training outdoors meant I was allowed to skip lessons.

I remember the transition to secondary school being difficult as my new school didn’t have a field, so the running stopped. Overtime, I couldn’t understand why I was getting bad grades in some subjects despite investing so much time and effort in cramming them into my brain. Things took a turn when my biology teacher really believed in me and encouraged me to give myself a chance. With a newfound love for biology and an encouraging mentor, I worked hard and graduated top of my class in my Genetics degree at a local university.

At the age of 24, I received the Prime Minister’s scholarship to pursue a postgraduate degree in cancer research in the UK. I moved from Kuala Lumpur to Leeds.

Looking back, ADHD was at its worst after I moved halfway across the world. I assimilated into university life, really LIVED and put my studies at the back of my mind. This went on for six years until, in the middle of my PhD, I realised I needed to change my lifestyle and mindset, or the last six years were going to be for nothing. I’d come this far, so failure wasn’t an option. I did graduate with excellent recommendations from my examiners, but I’d stressed myself to the point of crisis to achieve something I no longer had interest in, which I now know is part of my ADHD.

“I didn’t think I had a neurological condition and had never come across a woman with ADHD.”

But it was the birth of my second child at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with my husband being away due to bereavement that was a real trigger point for me. Home alone with two children as my husband was away, I felt overwhelmed. I’d watched other women manage it, but I couldn’t do it and was in constant fight or flight mode throughout that time. I questioned my ability as a mother and why I needed help when my husband was away. This moment prompted me to question myself.

At the time, more and more articles were being released on women with ADHD and there was growing awareness on social media that drew me in. The penny dropping moment was speaking to other women with ADHD and their stories resonated with me. By the time I went to the doctor I had armed myself with the right information to verbalise my ADHD symptoms. I was referred to a specialist and secured a diagnosis in March 2021 at the age of 40. It was hard at the start because it was difficult to remember who I was before my diagnosis.

Since my diagnosis, I have given myself the opportunities to dive into skills I didn’t believe I could fully execute before.

Soon after my diagnosis I set up ADHD Girls to empower and support women with ADHD.

I am in a great place to support others with ADHD. It took some time before I saw its potential, but we had the first workshop in February 2022, and I get to work alongside some amazing people. Setting up ADHD Girls transformed my life and my mindset.

“My ADHD has allowed me to connect with people in a way I couldn’t before. I have the tools, techniques and mentors to make the most out of my life.”




Founder at ADHD Girls


Aged 40


Key symptoms Feeling overwhelmed

Sound familiar?

Do these stories sound familiar to you? If so, you might want to consider speaking with your doctor about ADHD. Visit our symptoms page to learn more or download our discussion guide to help you prepare for your appointment..

You are about to leave the Staring Back at Me campaign website.

Do you wish to proceed?


Takeda makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information contained on sites we do not own or control. Takeda does not recommend and does not endorse the content on any third party websites. Your use of third party websites is at your own risk and subject to the terms and conditions of use for such sites.