‘Being different is a superpower’: Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg opens up about her Asperger’s diagnosis as she reveals it led to her suffering from an eating disorder
Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg has opened up about her Asperger’s diagnosis and revealed that it led to her suffering from an eating disorder.
In a frank social media post, the 16-year-old addressed comments about her appearance and beliefs and said that before she started school she had ‘no energy, no friends and I didn’t speak to anyone’.
It comes three days after the campaigner arrived in New York for a climate change summit, following a 15-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in a carbon-zero racing yacht from Plymouth, England.
Environmental acitivist Greta Thunberg has opened up about her Asperger’s diagnosis and revealed that it led to her suffering from an eating disorder. (Pictured: Greta on board her carbon-zero yacht as she arrives in New York for a summit on climate change)
The 16-year-old addressed comments about her appearance and beliefs in a frank social media post before opening up about her struggle with Asperger’s. (Pictured: Greta speaking to a crowd shortly after arriving in New York on August 28)
Writing on Instagram, the school striker said: ‘I’m not public about my diagnosis to ‘hide’ behind it, but because I know many ignorant people still see it as an ‘illness’, or something negative. And believe me, my diagnosis has limited me before.
‘Before I started school striking I had no energy, no friends, and I didn’t speak to anyone. I just sat at home with an eating disorder.
‘All that is gone now, since I have found a meaning, in a world that sometimes seems meaningless to so many people.
‘When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!
‘I have Asperger’s syndrome and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances – being different is a superpower.’
On Instagram she also said that before she started school striking she had ‘no friends’. (Pictured: Greta on board the zero-carbon yacht, 119 miles away from Manhattan, New York)
Her supporters heralded her bravery for speaking out and encouraged her not to let anyone stop her on her mission.
One Instagram user commented to express their support: ‘Not only did you find a meaning but you also gave a meaning to so many other people around the world.’
A second user said: ‘Amen to that. Don’t let anyone stop you on your quest. The world needs you.’
And a third heralded Greta as being the person who is ‘giving this entire movement hope and wings’.
A quote from Mahatma Gandhi, who led India’s struggle for independence, was also sent to Greta: ‘First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.’
The Swedish teenager has faced a barrage of criticism online following her attempts to bring global attention to climate change. (Pictured: Greta inside the yacht on her last evening before docking in New York)
She has also met Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn in Westminster to discuss climate change. They met on April 23 this year
The Swedish teenager has faced a barrage of criticism online following her attempts to bring global attention to climate change.
While in New York, she will speak at the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, which she decided to travel to by boat due to the emissions caused by planes.
She has also spoken with Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after meeting them both in Parliament on April 23.
She became the subject of worldwide media attention after staging a protest against climate change outside her country’s parliament in August last year.
What is Asperger’s syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome is a lifelong disability that affects how a person interprets the world around them, processes information and relates to others.
A form of autism, it affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees and is also a ‘hidden disability’ as it generally isn’t easily viewed.
The National Autistic Society said that people with the condition tend to have difficulties in social communication, social interaction and social imagination.
However, they are distinct from people with autism as they have fewer problems with speaking and are often of average, or above average, intelligence.
They do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with autism, but can have specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia.
Source: National Autistic Society