A woman who went mute for two months after a mystery brain injury has finally got her voice back -- but now speaks with FOUR different accents.
Doctors were perplexed after countless tests failed to explain why Emily Egan, 31, lost the ability to speak.
And when she finally began to talk again, Emily's voice sounded nothing like the Essex accent she had before.
Emily now mostly speaks with a Polish accent - even in 'broken English' at times - but her voice can suddenly change to sound French and Italian as well.
If she experiences a lot of stress, her accent becomes Russian, and when she is exhausted, Emily can lose the ability to speak altogether.
After months of confusion, Emily has finally been diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome - a rare speech disorder caused by brain damage.
Medics initially suspected a stroke, but it was ruled out and they believe her speech disorder was caused by brain damage - but don't yet know what caused it
Pictures of the week: October 4- 10
Pictures of the week: October 4- 10
People walk past a sign that refers to COVID-19 closures in London, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. The British economy grew by far less than anticipated during August, raising concerns that the recovery from the coronavirus recession was already stuttering even before the reimposition of an array of lockdown restrictions. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
England's Danny Ings, laying on the pitch, scores his team's third goal, during the international friendly soccer match between England and Wales at Wembley stadium in London, Thursday Oct. 8, 2020. England won the match 3-0.(Glynn Kirk/Pool via AP)
Scotland's Kenny McLean, right, celebrates with Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall after scoring from a penalty shot during the Euro 2020 playoff semifinal soccer match between Scotland and Israel, at the Hampden stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
A man cycles past the Kalliopi Lemos �Bag of Aspirations� Mild steel and stainless steel, a giant handbag sculpture on display on the corner of New Bond Street and Brook Street in London. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Performers on the Ellis Island stage during the "Lockdown Town" Launch Night at One Night Records on October 07, 2020 in London, England. "Lockdown Town" is London's first socially-distanced immersive live music event and venue. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Patrick Reed of The United States of America prepares to play his second shot on the 9th hole during Day One of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club on October 08, 2020 in Virginia Water, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Claire Whitaker OBE, Southampton UK City of Culture Bid Director (2nd right) and Councillor Satvir Kaur (3rd right) are joined by musicians Tyrone (left) and Warbz (right), dancer and artistic director Zoie Golding (2nd left) and chef Shelina Permalloo (3rd left) launch Southampton's bid to become the UK City of Culture 2025, outside Southampton's Bargate.
The London Eye on the south bank of the river Thames, as the sun rises, in London, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
A woman wears a face mask as she sits on a bus, in London, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Like other countries in Europe, the U.K. has seen rising coronavirus infections over the past few weeks, which has prompted the government to announce a series of restrictions, both nationally and locally, to keep a lid on infections. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Tottenham Hotspur's Ria Percival, left, and London's Harley Bennett challenge for the ball during the women's Continental League Cup match between Tottenham Hotspur and London City Lionesses in London, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A primates head part of Patrick Goddard�s Humans-Animals-Monsters sculpture during the Frieze Sculpture 2020 exhibition at Regent's Park. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: People wearing face masks play games in an amusement arcade on October 06, 2020 in Blackpool, England. This year to help boost the tourism trade, which has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Blackpool Illuminations will remain on display until January, two months longer than normal. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
NORTHWICH, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 06: A mannequin wearing a face mask and nurse's uniform stands next to a sign supporting the NHS, stands in a field during the Covid-19 pandemic on October 06, 2020 in Northwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A woman in protective face mask is seen shopping by a stall at Lewisham street market as the second wave of Coronavirus hits London, England on October 6, 2020. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Boscombe pier is silhouetted as dawn breaks over Boscombe beach in Dorset. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Australian street artist James Cochran, also known as Jimmy C, poses for a portrait as he finishes working for the day, with just a coat of varnish left to finish applying on his London cityscape mural on a Network Rail wall by Blackfriars Station, in London, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. It is the first time Cochran has painted a cityscape as a piece of street art outside of his studio and has taken six days to paint working through wet and rainy conditions. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Two swimmers run into the sea as the sun rises over Boscombe beach in Dorset. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Daniel Marc Hooper, better known as environmental activist Swampy, assists fellow anti-HS2 tree protectors from a makeshift tree house about sixty feet above ground at a wildlife protection camp in ancient woodland at Jones Hill Wood on 5 October 2020 in Aylesbury Vale, United Kingdom. The Jones Hill Wood camp, one of several protest camps set up by anti-HS2 activists along the route of the £106bn HS2 high-speed rail link in order to resist the controversial infrastructure project, is currently being evicted by National Eviction Team bailiffs working on behalf of HS2 Ltd. (photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)
A surfer makes their way into the sea as the sun starts to rise over Boscombe beach in Dorset. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Actress Jennifer Saunders, front center, and five colleagues carry out a 'silent stand' outside the Gielgud Theatre, London, Monday Oct. 5, 2020, on behalf of the UK theatre industry. The two minute stand is to show solidarity with those in the UK theatre industry who have lost their jobs and received no government support, to highlight the lack of government guidance for the reopening of theatres, an to ask the government to provide the industry with a date when theatres can reopen without social distancing. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Japan's Hiroki Nishida in action during the Elite Wheelchair Race during the Virgin Money London Marathon around St James' Park. (Photo by Ian Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)
GALLOWAY, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 04: Mel Reid of England (C) is doused with champagne after winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer on the Bay Course at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club on October 04, 2020 in Galloway, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Runners pass cardboard cutouts of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William during the London Marathon in London, England, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Athletes are competing on a 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) closed-loop course consisting of 19.6 clockwise laps around St. James' Park. The traditional course along the River Thames was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic and only elite men and women are competing and no spectators are permitted. (John Sibley/Pool via AP)
A resident in Rothbury in Northumberland bails water from their vehicle after the River Coquet burst its banks. The UK's wet weekend will continue as a weather warning for rain across parts of Wales and England has been extended.
Kenya's Brigid Kosgei, left, and Kenya's Ruth Chepngetich race along Horseguards Parade during the London Marathon in London, England, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Athletes are competing on a 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) closed-loop course consisting of 19.6 clockwise laps around St. James' Park. The traditional course along the River Thames was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic and only elite men and women are competing and no spectators are permitted. (Adam Davy/Pool via AP)
A van is stuck in flood water after the Padbury brook burst its banks near Buckingham, England, Monday Oct. 5, 2020. Heavy rain over the weekend has brought flooding and travel disruption to parts of Britain. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)
Cars make their way through a flooded road in Claudy, County Londonderry. The UK's wet weekend will continue as a weather warning for rain across parts of Wales and England has been extended.
Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts after Tottenham scored their sixth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (Oli Scarff/Pool via AP)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Ben Duckett and Dan Christian of Notts Outlaws celebrate victory in the Vitality Blast 20 Final between Surrey and Notts Outlaws at Edgbaston on October 04, 2020 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
Mark Smith 25228 seen running past Downing Street, London taking part in the Virgin Money Virtual London Marathon running for the St Lukes Hospice. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
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Emily said: "This whole experience has been exhausting and totally overwhelming.
"It's not just my accent that has changed - I don't speak or think in the same way as before this and I can't construct sentences like I used to.
"I write differently now, my whole vocabulary has changed and my English has gotten worse despite living in the UK all of my life.
"My dad has said that I don't sound like me any more in that he'd never imagine me wording things like I do now.
"I've even experienced abuse from strangers who think I am foreign - I had a man shout at me in the supermarket saying foreigners like me are the reason we have coronavirus.
"It's changed my life completely."
Emily had been suffering from headaches for two weeks before her voice suddenly deepened while she was working at the children's home she manages in Bournemouth in January 2020.
Her speech rapidly became slow and slurred - a key indication of a stroke - so Emily was rushed to hospital where she underwent extensive CT and MRI scans.
Doctors ruled out a stroke but were left confused when Emily lost the ability to speak completely during her hospital stay.
She was discharged to a neurologist after three weeks in hospital but still without a voice, and communicated solely through an app on her phone.
She said: "I knew a bit of basic sign language as I needed it for work years ago but I just used my hands to express what I wanted to say.
"I had to use a 'text to speak' app on my iPhone which sounded like Stephen Hawkins and it just wasn't me.
"Adjusting to communicating like this was so hard, I felt like a completely different person."
Emily and her partner Bradleigh, 27, had booked a holiday to Thailand before she fell ill and her neurologist encouraged her to take the trip and try to relax as much as possible.
Five days into her holiday in March 2020, Emily slowly began to speak again but with great difficulty and she said she "sounded deaf".
Her voice slowly grew stronger as the days passed but Emily was shocked when she realised she had developed an Eastern European accent.
She was finally diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome in March 2020 and now her voice rapidly changes between Polish, Russian, French and Italian.
'It doesn't sound like me'
Emily said: "I'm an Essex girl normally - my accent was really strong and my voice was very high pitched and really recognisable, people always knew it was me calling.
"On holiday, I started making sounds like a deaf person trying to talk - it is thought that the neuropathways had started to open as my body had completely relaxed.
"By the time I was home, the words were sounding like a foreign language.
"I was so thrilled when my voice started coming back but now I don't even recognise the voice that comes out of my mouth, it doesn't sound like me.
"I actually used to be so good at putting on accents for my friends before this and I've even had people ask if I'm putting it on - as if I could keep it up this long!"
Since her diagnosis, Emily has been having private vocal therapy once a week over Zoom but there is no indication if she will ever regain her normal accent.
Her extremely rare condition has sent her body into shut down, leaving her exhausted and she experienced left side weakness two weeks ago.
Again a symptom of a stroke, Emily was rushed to hospital and has now been diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder as well.
Her left arm and hand are now paralysed but doctors hope she will regain feeling and movement with time and physical therapy.
Had to stop working
Emily said: "I'm only 31 years old and I am shocked at how much my life has changed in a matter of months.
"I've had to stop working because my job is quite stressful and the doctors have said stress will only make my condition worse.
"The hardest thing for me is learning that this voice is ok. I have to learn to accept that it's ok for me to not be able to get the words out straight away, it'll come eventually.
"I just have to stop getting so frustrated with myself so am practicing holistic approaches to calm and clear my mind with my therapist, as when I get frustrated, everything goes, there's no speech, and it's back to square one.
"I am learning that when I'm tired, my speech goes or my accent changes - it will deepen and go slow, and for the last week, it's been predominantly Russian.
"Doctors can't predict what will happen with my voice. It's just a matter of taking every day as it comes, so I'm just trying to stay positive and hopeful.
"I'd never heard of either of these really rare conditions and now I've been diagnosed with both, it has just been a total whirlwind."