Greta Thunberg, the public face of the school climate strike movement, has been outspoken about her Asperger’s diagnosis, claiming that while it has indeed made her “different”, she sees it as a “superpower”.
On Twitter, Thunberg acknowledged not being open about her medical record of autism. However, she claimed that she hadn't intended to “hide” behind it, but didn't reveal more because of “many ignorant people” who still see this diagnosis as an “illness” or “something negative”.
She also stressed that before embarking on a climate action campaign that started with so-called “school strikes” and gathered hundred of thousands of supporters across the globe, she had “no energy, no friends” and “didn’t speak to anyone”. “I just sat alone at home, with an eating disorder”, Thunberg tweeted.
By her own admission, the diagnosis has indeed limited her before, but she managed to make being different into a superpower.
“When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!” the 16-year-old wrote, using the hashtag #aspiepower.
When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) 31 августа 2019 г.
I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And - given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower.#aspiepower pic.twitter.com/A71qVBhWUU
Thunberg's confession has triggered a mixed reaction. Amid streams of adoration from her supporters, many were highly sceptical.
Some suggested that Greta's medical record was “exactly the reason the climate cult picked a 16-year-old child with Asperger's and OCD” to push their agenda, “so that no one would say boo”.
This is exactly the reason the climate cult picked a 16 year old child with asperger, OCD and who used to self-harm to push their agenda, so no one would say boo. Using a child with these kind of problems to push an adult agenda is child abuse IMO. Wake up.— Ms. Donna (@DCTFTW) 1 сентября 2019 г.
“Those words are not spoken by a 16 year old with Asperger's. They are the words of a professional advertising agency”, a user tweeted, suggesting, Thunberg was a PR project rather than an independent figure.
Those words are not spoken by a 16 year old with Asperger. They are the words of a professional advertising agency— Old Codger (@D16584667) 31 августа 2019 г.
Ezra Levant, the editor-in-chief of the Canadian outlet Rebel Media, suggested that “the poor girl” is “being abused by her handlers”.
“Her own mother says she’s had mental illness, including depression, and she has been suicidal. When will child services step in to stop this exploitation?” Levant tweeted, posting a video of Thunberg with an obvious facial tic and uncomfortable mannerisms.
This poor girl is being abused by her handlers. Her own mother says she’s had mental illness, including depression, and she has been suicidal. When will child services step in to stop this exploitation? pic.twitter.com/sEg4WHoCYc— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) 29 августа 2019 г.
“The science is settled. The new global warming expert who doesn't go to school has super powers. We know, because she says so”, a user tweeted sarcastically.
Theodore Dalrymple of the New English Review went so far as to call Thunberg “The Ayatollah of Climate Change”, suggesting that regardless of her psychiatric condition, Greta has been elevated to celebrity by adults, who have turned her into “Ayatollah Thunberg, the Khomeini of climate change”.
#GretaThunberg "Her transformation into a celebrity is the work of adults. It is they who have turned her into the Ayatollah Thunberg, the Khomeini of climate change." Theodore Dalrymple at his best: https://t.co/lcS3IE6iab— Barbara Kay (@BarbaraRKay) 2 сентября 2019 г.
Asperger’s syndrome, named after the Austrian paediatrician, Hans Asperger, includes difficulties in social interaction and non-verbal communication, as well as problems reading body language.
For her activism, Greta Thunberg has received a lot of media attention, both in Sweden and abroad, and has risen to media stardom, having met with numerous EU officials, top-ranking businessmen and celebrities ranging from former US President Barack Obama to the Pope. She's also received numerous awards, appeared on the cover of Time magazine, and was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, Thunberg's role is not without controversy, as many are doubtful because of her confirmed diagnoses of autism, Asperger's, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism, some of which she shares with her sister.
Thunberg is currently touring the US, where she famously arrived in a “zero-emissions” yacht to bolster her climate cause.