She has never even left the United States.
Michelle Myers went to sleep American. When she woke up, she was British – but not in terms of her nationality or even her location.
The Arizona woman who has spent her entire life in the U.S. woke up with a British accent.
Doctors believe the strange occurrence is linked to the severe headaches Myers was experiencing at the time, she told ABC affiliate KNXV.
She said that she has been diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome, an extremely rare condition in which patients suddenly perceive themselves to speak with a foreign accent. The disorder is usually spurred by a stroke or head trauma, but other cases have also been linked to migraines.
“Everyone only sees or hears Mary Poppins,” Myers told the station. “I guess you still have it in your head. I feel like a different person.”
The British accent is not the only cadence Myers has experienced, she said. After suffering headaches throughout her life, in the past she has woken up speaking with Irish and Australian accents. While those disappeared after about a week, Myers said that she has been speaking in a British accent for at least two years now.
Foreign Accent Syndrome was first documented in 1907 by Pierre Marie, a French neurologist. A 2011 study found that only about 60 cases had been documented around the world at the time of publication.
Myers told KNXV that she is trying to maintain a positive attitude and just wants to be taken seriously since she is aware of how her condition sounds to others.
Looking at an old video clip in which she speaks with her natural American accent, Myers said, “The person I am now has been through so much compared to this person here.”