CBS Local — A strange medical condition has left a former Texas beauty queen – who has never left the U.S. – with a British accent.
Michelle Myers has reportedly suffered from debilitating headaches for several years. On three occasions however, the headaches left Myers speaking with a foreign accent the next morning when she woke up. “They send in the psychiatrist at the hospital and make sure you’re not a loon,” the 45-year-old said, via WTOL.
Previously, Myers has woken up with Australian and Irish accents which lasted for weeks before fading. After the last incident, the mother of seven has been left sounding like a regular Brit for two years. “Everybody only sees or hears Mary Poppins,” Myers said.
Once doctors ruled out the possibility that Myers was faking or mentally ill, she was diagnosed with the extremely rare condition Foreign Accent Syndrome. Typically seen in people who’ve suffered strokes or a brain injury, the disorder results in a sudden change to the language center of a person’s brain and leaves them with a “foreign” accent.
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. There have only been about 100 cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome diagnosed over the last century.
Although Myers is not believed to have ever had a stroke, she was also diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome which causes skin bruising and can make the joints so flexible that they dislocate. This painful condition is believed to be connected to Myers’ mysterious speaking disorder. “I guess you still have it in your head. I feel like a different person,” Myers said while looking at videos of her speaking without the accent.
The 45-year-old is not the only Texan to suddenly turn British in recent years. In 2016, Lisa Alamia woke up from jaw surgery speaking with a British accent and was diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome as well. The procedure reportedly caused nerve damage that triggered the disorder.