Verity Went, 26, was “terrified” after having a nap to sleep off a migraine, only to wake up with a Geordie accent.
The Staffordshire-based barber grew up with a Midlands accent, which she had up until the incident late last year.
She was already struggling with symptoms caused by functional neurologic disorder (FND), which she was diagnosed with in 2022.
FND is the name given for ‘medically unexplained’ symptoms in the body which appear to be caused by problems in the nervous system, but which are not caused by a physical neurological disease or disorder.
While off work battling seizures and migraines in October 2023, Verity had a nap to get through a particularly bad headache – but woke up with an entirely new voice.
“After a couple of hours I woke up and my speech was slurred, which I’m occasionally used to, but after five minutes it came back – and was Geordie,” Verity told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“I was terrified.
“I went to the doctors straight away and since they already knew about my FND, they kind of knew it was something to do with that rather than a stroke.
“The doctor was so shocked and when I asked what do to, she said she’d heard about it before but never seen it, and to go to the hospital.
“Even though I like it now and I’m used to it, at first I was so upset as I just felt I had completely lost myself and didn’t know who I was anymore.”
While she has not been formally diagnosed, Verity said that every doctor she has spoken to believes it to be a case of foreign accent syndrome – a condition where the way you talk shifts and changes in a way that’s sudden and very noticeable.
She shared her experience on TikTok, where her post went viral with 200,000 views.
She also shared a second clip, showing her old accent and the difference between how she grew up speaking, and how she now speaks after the freak incident.
Verity said: “90% of people’s reactions have been amazing, so supportive and actually say they’ve seen things about it before or heard about it.
“However, the other 10% are quite rude and don’t believe me at all.
“Which is fine, just strange that they’re so rude about it.
“I could understand them being like ‘I can’t believe it, I don’t believe it’, but some people are genuinely so nasty it’s a shame.”
Verity now plans to use her experience to start a podcast, interviewing other people with health conditions and sharing her story further to help raise awareness.