A WOMAN has opened up about how she went to sleep with an East Midlands accent – but woke up the following morning with a completely different one.
And Zoe Coles from Lincolnshire said she had no power over it, as it’s all part of a medical condition that has upended her life.
Zoe explained that in 2022 she was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) which affects how the brain receives and sends information to the rest of the body.
But earlier this year, she got the shock of her life as Zoe, who was born in Kent, woke to find her accent had suddenly changed while she was sleeping.
First, she sounded like she was speaking with a German twang, before she developed a Welsh accent – a country she’s never even visited but plans to now.
During an interview on ITV show This Morning, Zoe recalled the strange incident and how she thinks she is suffering from Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS).
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Earlier this summer, She told hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary: “A year ago, I was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder.
“Six weeks ago, seven weeks now, I woke up speaking like this,” she said with her newly-acquired Welsh accent very prevalent.
Zoe added: “[Before I sounded] quite East Midlands, but with a bit of a Kent twang because I’m originally from Kent.”
And in a further interview with the BBC, Zoe – who said other symptoms of FND include chronic pain, loss of motor control and speech problems – revealed she was seeking medical help to help regain her original accent.
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She explained to them: "There are many FND sufferers but this accent syndrome… something has obviously gone wrong up in my brain.
“Something's obviously not right, because who on earth wakes up speaking a totally different accent?
"So I would like to work with somebody [who] can help me and then we can help others.”
But asked how she’d coped with the sudden change to her voice, Zoe admitted that “laughter was her medicine.”
Zoe, who said her FND diagnosis came about when she woke up with slurred speech, explained: “It’s hilarious and we laugh.
“It’s been my medicine through all of this – laughter. We take the mickey out of me, I’ve got to – that’s how I get through.
“People think I’m having them on – no, I’m not having you on.”
Something's obviously not right, because who on earth wakes up speaking a totally different accent?
Since appearing on This Morning and giving various other interviews, Zoe has kept her social media followers updated with her progress.
Eighteen weeks on, she is still speaking with the Welsh twang, and has visited a neurologist called Professor Jon Stone.
She explained: “He explained to me that I can’t be fixed – I can be helped, but I can’t be fixed.”
After saying that he had presented some ways she could “manage” her symptoms, she told her TikTok followers: “He also said that I have to accept that this has happened.
“My brain has just switched, it’s just changed – there’s no specific reason. It’s just decided to change.”
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In a follow-up video, she admitted she felt “sad” but ultimately “happy” there was help for – and that she thinks that more people need to study the condition to help her and those in a similar position.
What is FND?
According to the NHS website, FND "describes a problem with how the brain receives and sends information to the rest of the body."
Likening the brain to a computer, they say it's not that the hardware is damaged – but instead the internal "software, or program running on the computer, that isn't working properly."
Symptoms can vary from person to person, but include things such as arms and leg weakness or seizures. While fatigue, pain and insomnia are "often found alongside it."
For more information, visit nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/brain-nerves-and-spinal-cord/functional-neurological-disorder
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