Call the LionHeart Helpline

UK: 0800 009 2960 or +44 (0)121 289 3300

Request a callback


Living & succeeding with ADHD

zaman 2

Growing up in Newcastle upon Tyne, I always felt a little bit different. Apart from the obvious one of, you know, being brown in a predominantly white area, what else was it that made me different, that set me apart from the other kids at school?

As a kid I was always energetic, brimming with enthusiasm - the first to ask questions and put myself forward. I just thought that was the way I was and got on with living life and being busy.

That is, up until a couple of years ago, when something happened that would change my life.

I was in a well-paid, respected surveying job and all was well, seemingly. But I was stressed at work, studying and trying to finalise my dissertation for my MSc. I also had a baby who was just a few months old.

I had two car accidents in the space of a week. It was then that I reached out to medical professionals and I remember saying to a doctor, I think there's something wrong with me.

I was referred to a psychiatrist, who among other things asked to see my school reports. I was later told I was a "classic" case of ADHD.

The experience was a difficult one to manage but part of me thought, brilliant! Now I know what's wrong, I'll know how to deal with it.

I was told I no longer had a job

My first experience of how workplaces handle neurodiversity came shortly afterwards when I told a manager about my diagnosis. It was suggested I take a couple of weeks off to try and process what had just happened; I was also trying to adjust to some new medication.

But when I returned to work I was told I no longer had a job.

The reality was, I no longer had a job because I had ADHD.

I was just lost for the next few weeks. It was a really hard time - I'd never felt that bad before. But I reflected for a few weeks and decided I couldn't just sit there and do nothing; I thought I just need to pick up the pieces and make this happen.

I started applying for jobs. I applied for one where I was so nervous I ticked 'no' to the bit where they asked if you needed any reasonable adjustments to do your job.  I had the interview and it went well. Later on, I told them about my previous experience. They were great and asked what they could do to support me.

I was still adjusting to my medication. It was a matter of having patience and reassurance - maybe to be able to practise flexible working as I sometimes have trouble staying in one place, focused on one thing, for a long period of time, so it helps to be able to go out and get some fresh air for a change of scene.

It is perfectly possible to have a successful career and have ADHD. I just work harder! I do sometimes find it difficult but the medication has helped. What's possible, if you have the support of an employer who is willing to make reasonable adjustments for you? (and that is the key word there - there's nothing unreasonable about providing reasonable adjustments...)

Anything is achievable if the support is there

Well, a few of the things I have managed to achieve since my diagnosis and with the support of my workplace: I completed my masters while working full-time, during Covid, and graduated with distinction. I've been nominated for Young Surveyor of the Year last year and this year, have been part of the EG Future Leaders programme, and am currently working towards getting chartered.

I really feel that if the mechanisms are there to support you, anything is achievable with ADHD; that enthusiasm to carry on and succeed - it's a super power! I can't stress enough how important it is to have an employer that can ask if they can do anything to help you.

But it's not just a one way street. Neurodiversity covers a lot of things. All of these things can breed talent and creativity. That breeds efficiency new ideas and ways to do things - we can be creative and think outside the box, come up with solutions or unconventional ideas that can be ground-breaking.

To be honest, I am still understanding my condition and how best to manage it. But the surveying profession and workplaces can all play a role in helping to support and accept people who are neurodiverse, by generating awareness about different conditions, helping people talk about it, and even sharing ideas not just about how to manage neurodiversity in the workplace but to support someone to really thrive and succeed.

While there is part of me that is still coming to terms with that thing that changed my life a couple of years ago, I am determined to work hard and achieve my goals.

There is still a stigma culturally attached - if it's not visible it's not there - but I have started to share my experiences in the professional sphere, I have spoken at events through my involvement with EG Future Leaders and will now be working with LionHeart. I hope this will all help other people in the future.

After all, who wouldn't want someone with a super power on their team?


Zaman Sheikh is an estates surveyor in the public sector who has been nominated for YSOYA two years in a row. He will be volunteering for LionHeart as an ambassador with a particular interest in neurodiversity.

  • LionHeart is currently developing ways to better understand and support neurodiversity in surveying. You can add your voice by filling in our short survey here

Latest Posts

5th - How youth counselling helped us
22nd - Living with an invisible illness
9th - What makes a good trustee?
1st - Things you must do as a final year surveying student!
4th - Dyslexia in surveying
28th - Reflecting on 12 years at LionHeart
13th - New beginnings and how to embrace them
5th - Losing a sibling to suicide
5th - Celebrating one year alcohol-free
25th - Caring for someone with MS
20th - How to set boundaries at work
17th - 'Calling LionHeart was like being thrown a life jacket'
6th - Spotlight on winter fundraising
3rd - Facing cancer
14th - Identifying and dealing with workplace bullying
13th - Why make a will?
12th - Living with OCD
3rd - Autism and my road of discovery
22nd - Frequently asked questions about LionHeart
25th - 25 years of LionHeart
11th - 'Stress caused me permanent disability'
18th - Diversifying our board, and why
18th - Coaching to unlock a new future
12th - How to help your lonely teen
9th - Asking for help - as the helper
28th - Why talking about dying is so important
7th - 9 simple ways to cut stress
23rd - Living & succeeding with ADHD
16th - 'I came to see how much of my life was run on adrenaline'
10th - "My daughter didn't want to be here any more"
4th - My life-changing cancer diagnosis
13th - Reassessing how you drink
4th - Looking to the future
19th - How alcohol almost cost me everything
18th - Children's grief and how to help
16th - Alcohol, anxiety and how secrets keep you sick
4th - "I had no idea stress could cause a real physical pain"
22nd - 5 ways to get your teen talking
18th - The Positives of Menopause
13th - Baby loss and depression
12th - The pandemic's impact on children's mental health (and what we can do about it)
8th - Don't judge a book - a story of depression and change
5th - LionHeart Back to Work support
29th - Post APC submission
16th - How families feel youth mental health
24th - 6 top tips if you've been referred
20th - Coaching for change
12th - "I'd hit absolute bottom - but it was the catalyst to seek help”
22nd - Spring into action by fundraising for LionHeart
4th - Reflecting on university mental health
15th - My experiences of counselling
20th - Worry Time - and how it helps
18th - My furlough & redundancy journey
13th - Volunteering and LionHeart
30th - A road to change
2nd - Trusteeship through lockdown and uncertainty
12th - The importance of legacies
10th - Overwhelm - and overcoming it
8th - Lockdown and my mental health
28th - Creativity at Work
20th - Video
24th - 'If I can do it, so can you'
22nd - How to ace your APC interview online
8th - Help! I've been referred... what now?
3rd - Your coronavirus concerns, and how we're helping
12th - Managing health anxiety through Covid-19 - and how we helped Mike
12th - How coronavirus might be affecting your mental health
31st - Rising to the coronavirus challenge
24th - Keep connecting - in a different way
13th - Demonstrating our impact
4th - The Big C and grabbing life
4th - "Cancer wasn't meant to happen to us"
30th - My journey as a charity trustee
7th - Top 10 tips for CVs and interviews
9th - Grief and loss at Christmas
7th - Charity trusteeship
6th - How counselling can help manage stress
9th - Living with anxiety and depression
10th - How coaching can help
16th - Changing attitudes to mental health
15th - The vicious circle of body image & mental health
14th - Social Anxiety & how we can help
11th - Life with Parkinson's
29th - The one about the Bipolar surveyor...
29th - What is Bipolar?
12th - Memory tips from the training front line
22nd - Losing a parent
7th - LionHeart's support was a game-changer when I failed APC
16th - When the reality of motherhood doesn't quite go to plan
10th - The story behind surveying's Sisterhood Summit
2nd - The rollercoaster of being a first-time dad
22nd - My father's suicide and what I've learnt
14th - Tips for your RICS APC final assessment interview
7th - Trust in the charity sector
21st - Is it really okay to not be okay?
17th - Building resilience through your APC
8th - 7 ways to get more active this year
4th - Coping with loss and grief at Christmas
5th - "I was told I might not be cut out to be a surveyor"
26th - Resilience, and why we need it
21st - APC Revision Top Ten Tips
12th - LionHeart on new fundraising code of practice
19th - Living with 'invisible' illness
14th - How LionHeart helped us live life
13th - Men's Health Week 2017
22nd - Living with panic attacks
18th - Why we must care about work life balance
11th - The chicken-and-egg of mental health and shame
2nd - What I learnt from Dry January
31st - "My 19-year journey to MRICS is what made me"
5th - Ways to be kind to yourself in 2017
7th - Suicide prevention
1st - Coping with APC stress
13th - "I constantly watch my husband for suicidal signs"
26th - Dealing with referral at APC Final Assessment
19th - How mindfulness can help your relationships
18th - "I live, and thrive, with depression"
17th - Men and mental health
16th - Mental health and your relationship
26th - Starting out in surveying
11th - A happy retirement
1st - My Dry(ish) January
21st - Spring clean your finances
6th - When to consider couples counselling
4th - Having a (financially) healthier Christmas
18th - How to help a loved one with an addiction
15th - Reflections on the Lionheart Surveyors' Football League season
12th - Carers
10th - How LionHeart can support carers
9th - Desktop Relaxation techniques
29th - Techniques to help combat anxiety
20th - Helping a family member with depression
18th - Achievements that make a difference
16th - Five things that may indicate your colleague needs help
11th - Helping during a panic attack