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I woke up with a foreign accent despite never visiting that country — and I still can’t shake it off

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What sounds like a bizarre dream was a frightening reality for one confused Brit.

An English mom-of-two named Zoe Coles, 36, said one morning she woke up with a Welsh accent despite never visiting the country.

Coles, who acquired her new accent in June of 2023, was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) a year prior, SWNS reported.

Zoe Coles is British but now people ask her if she is from Wales. Zoe Coles / SWNS
Zoe Coles is British but now people ask her if she is from Wales. Zoe Coles / SWNS

She said the condition changes the way her brain sends and receives signals and some of her symptoms include slurred speech, memory problems, leg pain, ticks and Foreign Accent Syndrome, which in her case manifested itself as a Welsh accent.

Before her onset of symptoms, she lived a completely different life.

“I was a full-time working mom, I could get up and clean the house in two hours, have a shower, get ready, go shopping, go to work and come home. Now I have to be assisted in the shower in case my legs go on me, I can’t do the housework in two hours it is more like two days,” she bemoaned.

“I get so tired so quickly, I can do the shopping because I can hold the trolly but I can’t do much more.”

She experiences good days and bad days.

“Some days I will go natural and I am fine. When I am having a bad flare-up and I can’t walk my old accent will return back to English,” she explained.

“I have no idea why because it is so rare not much is known about it,” she added.

She said people will ask her if she’s from Cardiff in Wales when she is actually from Stamford, Lincolnshire in England.

She said she misses her old accent.

She said she has something called Foreign Accent Syndrome and her doctor said there isn’t anything she can do about it. Zoe Coles / SWNS
She said she has something called Foreign Accent Syndrome and her doctor said there isn’t anything she can do about it. Zoe Coles / SWNS

“I am struggling a lot, you are born with a voice, you grow up and develop a way of speaking. That has been taken away from me,” she explained.

She said she went to a neurologist who said there was nothing they could do. She is managing her condition but she said she now has social anxiety.

“Part of me has learned to get on with it but I have come across a few Welsh people who asked me where I am from,” she explained.

Coles said her life has changes drastically ever since she was diagnosed. Zoe Coles / SWNS
Coles said her life has changes drastically ever since she was diagnosed. Zoe Coles / SWNS

“That is really difficult, I don’t want to lie and say I am from somewhere in Wales,” she added.

She said she’s talking about her disorder so she can raise awareness. She posts about her struggles on TikTok where she goes by @zoecoles1.

“I am speaking out because I want people to see that these things really do happen. This is a reality for me as much as I don’t like it, I love the accent and I have adapted to it,” she said.

“However it still causes problems for me, I still get head pains and tingling in the face. It isn’t just the accent, it is so hard for me,” she added.