Greta Thunberg has silenced her critics by telling fans that being different is a ‘superpower’ in an inspirational Instagram post.
The climate change activist, 16, took to social media to share why she rarely opens up publicly about her Asperger syndrome diagnosis.
In a caption alongside a photo taken on her sailing trip to the US, the Swedish student spoke about the dark times she experienced before becoming a campaigner.
When she arrived in New York on Wednesday after sailing for two weeks across the Atlantic, Greta was mocked online for her reaction to cheering crowds.
It’s not the first time the teenager has been targeted by trolls for not masking the traits that come with her Asperger syndrome.
At the end of July, Australian News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt wrote a deeply offensive column that named the teenager a ‘deeply disturbed’ messiah.
His comments resurfaced on Twitter last week but were widely shot down by Greta’s followers.
Today, she had the last word, tweeting: ‘When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning.’
She continued: ‘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.
‘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 alone at home, with an eating disorder.
‘All of that is gone now, since I have found a meaning, in a world that sometimes seems meaningless to so many people.’
According to the National Autistic Society, people with Asperger syndrome see, hear and feel the world differently to other people.
They will usually have difficulties with social communication and social interaction and display restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour.
At the time Bolt’s column was published, Greta hit back to say: ‘I am indeed “deeply disturbed” about the fact that these hate and conspiracy campaigns are allowed to go on and on and on just because we children communicate and act on the science.
‘Where are the adults?’
In April, the National Autistic Society heralded the teenager, writing: ‘Thank you Greta Thunberg for showing the world your autistic brilliance.’
Greta said she first heard about climate change in 2011 when she was eight.
Three years later she became depressed and stopped talking and was eventually diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive–compulsive disorder and selective mutism.
In Autumn 2018, Greta began the school climate strikes and public speeches that have made her an internationally recognised activist.
While in New York she will speak at the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September.