When the singer Susan Boyle appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, the audience was shocked with her angelic voice, and the unexpected star immediately went viral. Her portrayal of Les Miserables “I dreamed a dream” made the 47-year-old an instant sensation and many thought she would win the season. However, when the dance group Diversity took first place, the loss hit Boyle hard.
BGT judge Simon Cowell told The Sun that he took the stage while the show was still live to assure Boyle that her record deal with his company was guaranteed, but the stress left her overwhelmed anyway and Boyle soon entered Priory Clinic. According to The Guardian, the program staff contacted the police when the finalist began acting strangely in her London hotel room.
Another judge, Piers Morgan, said Boyle was “emotionally drained” due to the pressure of her sudden fame. “It was crazy, she has gone from anonymity to being the most discharged woman in history,” she told GMTV. “She was very tired and she has not been sleeping. She has left to spend time alone and sleep and eat, doing all the things that she has not been able to do in the last week”.
Boyle was released from the Priory days later, but her brief stint at the clinic, and her new fame, have only changed the singer’s life for the better, as she has since discovered the underlying cause of her mental health issues.
Susan Boyle was misdiagnosed as a child and often bullied
Throughout her life, Susan Boyle was told that she had brain damage due to complications at birth. However, with more than five decades under her belt, Boyle decided to seek medical advice, as she believed her problem was more serious. “I went looking for a diagnosis from a Scottish specialist,” said the singer The Observer in 2013. “No one told me. I thought I had a more serious illness and could not function properly.
Nicknamed “Susie Simple” by city kids, Boyle was bullied for being “different.” But thanks to that specialist, Boyle learned that she was not damaged: she simply has Asperger syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that affects a person’s social interaction and communication skills. It is also often linked to mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and more, as said by Autism Speaks.
“It was a wrong diagnosis when I was a kid,” Boyle explained. “They told me I had brain damage. I always knew it was an unfair label. Now I have a clearer understanding of what is wrong and I feel relieved and a little more relaxed with myself.
And you have no plans to let this diagnosis define your professional identity. Boyle added: “It is a condition that I have to live and work with … People will have a better understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.” We are so glad that you have found the peace of mind you needed to regain your quiet confidence.
Susan Boyle says talking about Asperger ‘makes it so much easier’ to cope with the pressure
When Susan Boyle seized her opportunity for stardom, she had no idea how this bold move would change her life. “When I went down to London it became overwhelming. That’s just an understatement, ” she said to The Sun. “You are sitting one day on your sofa without knowing what you are doing with your life and suddenly you enter a competition”.
However, from her diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, Boyle learned to “deal with the pressure” and “control [herself] better.”
“I don’t care so much about things. I received a lot of help and I am managing myself much more effectively,” she said. “It can be difficult to talk about mental health problems, as there is some fear about it. Years ago there used to be a stigma about it, but now there is more knowledge, more experience, and talking about things that make it much easier.”
Boyle now hopes she can raise awareness about Asperger and its impact. “[With] Asperger you just have to let people know that sometimes you have to go at a certain pace”, she told Lorraine Kelly of ITV.
“It’s something that you bring to light in hopes of help others. I like to feel that I am the voice of people who have been helpless, and I wanted to prove and prove my worth. In our eyes, Boyle is the real winner.