Susan Boyle, the UK singer who captured worldwide attention after her tear-jerking debut on the reality series "Britain's Got Talent" in 2009, has revealed she has Asperger's syndrome. The diagnosis comes after decades of believing her condition was the result of brain damage from oxygen deprivation at birth. As a result, she says she struggled heavily in school and was bullied by children who nicknamed her "Susie Simple."

"I was told I had brain damage. I always knew it was an unfair label," she told The Observer newspaper. "Now I have a clearer understanding of what's wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself."

Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, is often characterized by poor social skills, speech abnormalities and difficulties with motor skills, sleep, and emotions. Boyle told the Observer that she sought help last year from a specialist because "I thought I had a more serious illness and couldn't function properly."

I would say I have relationship difficulties, communicative difficulties, which lead to a lot of frustration. If people were a bit more patient, that would help," she added.

"Asperger's doesn't define me. It's a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do."

Boyle, who just released the new holiday album "Home for Christmas," confirmed earlier this year that Fox Searchlight is developing a film about her life - with one major celeb in particular up for the leading role.

"I wouldn’t like to be in the film myself," she said. "I’d like someone to play me. Probably Meryl Streep -- I understand she has been approached."

Check out the performance that changed everything for Boyle below.

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Susan Boyle's misdiagnosed brain damage turns out to be Asperger's
Singer, who received the news last year, says she's relieved to have a clearer understanding of her condition.