Arizona woman suffering from rare disease, wakes with British accent

PA Real Life Michelle Myers Cropped

Former American beauty queen mysteriously woke up with British accent - but has never been abroad

The US native has spoken with an English accent for two years now, despite never having left the country.

Myers has gone to sleep with blinding headaches and then woke up with different accents - Irish, Australian, and British.

"They send in the psychiatrist at the hospital and make sure you're not a loon", said Myers. With such a rare condition, many people are quick to judge and label her as "crazy" or "faking" the fact that her speaking mannerisms changed so drastically after she fell asleep with a headache. She suffers from Foreign Accent Syndrome, which is a rare condition that is usually associated with a stroke, neurological damage or another underlying health issue.

"Everybody only sees or hears Mary Poppins", said Michelle Myers, a mom of seven who lives in Buckeye.

Myers also suffers from a condition known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which could be linked with her transient accents.

Myers told Fox News that doctors said her affliction was likely a side effect of a hemiplegic migraine, which produces symptoms that are similar to a stroke.


Two years ago she went down with a crippling headache and woke up with a Cockney accent she's had ever since.

According to the University of Texas Dallas, the timing, intonation, and tongue placement in speech changes so that it is perceived as foreign sounding.

And one particular person seems to come to mind when she speaks. They all started with an extreme headache and ended in a freaky change in speech - first Irish, then Australian and now British, the station reports.

Making all these changes consistently - every time they utter a certain vowel, letter, or consonant - is what distinguishes people with the syndrome from someone attempting an accent. Affected people may also cut out articles such as "the" and drop letters, turning an American "yeah" into a Scandinavian "yah", for instance. The speech rhythms and pronunciations sound like other accents.

According to the Washington Post, the condition was first recorded in 1907 when French neurologist Pierre Marie observed a man in Paris speaking in a local German dialect after suffering a stroke. She now says the accent may actually be a good thing. So when she one day addressed her family with a British accent, despite spending her life in Texas and Arizona, everyone took it as a joke. "Rare diseases are very emotional. I'm certainly not the first person with [FAS]".

"I believe everything happens for a reason, so, maybe this happened because it helps me to break the ice with people", she said.

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