Verity Went, from Staffordshire in the UK, 26 year old part time barber and her story is rather unique. After years of suffering from acute migraines, she was diagnosed with FND in 2022 after suddenly suffering from unexplained seizures, temporary paralysis and loss or slurred speech. FND stands for Functional Neurological Disorder. In basic terms the brain isn’t damaged and neurologists refer to it as a software issue not a hardware problem.
Unfortunately for Verity there was another huge hurdle waiting for her around the corner. Living in the West Midlands and speaking with the local accent Verity went to sleep one day and woke up with a Geordie accent. This rare phenomenon came about because of a further malfunction of her brain and neurologists refer to it as Foreign Accent Syndrome. And there are only about 100 people around the world suffering from it.
Incredibly Verity no longer suffers from Seizures but she cannot for the life of her get her old accent back.
Verity is without doubt an outstanding, natural speaker and she shares her astonishing experiences in her inspirational speeches. Impressively upbeat she shares the constants ups and downs caused by both FND and FAS, the trolling and brutal in person confrontations from people who think she is making her accent up and how a TikTok video she posted to explain it to people caught the eye of the media. She has appeared on a number of radio and TV shows including ITV’s This Morning.
It goes without saying that Verity is passionate about raising awareness of living with Migraines, Functional Neurological Disorder and Foreign Accent Syndrome. All hidden abilities. She wants to spread the word about these rare conditions not just to help herself but other people suffering from FND because it makes for such a challenging time.
Please contact Sylvia here to inquire about Verity Went
Born and raised in Penkridge, Staffordshire in the UK, Verity Went never for a moment imagined that her life would take such a crazy and unexpected turn at the age of 25. Working as a full-time barber in the city centre of Birmingham, she was living a normal life, albeit one that was beset with Migraines since she was eight years old.
However in December 2022 she was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder after she suddenly started suffering from regular seizures. After finally being given a diagnosis of FND (Functional Neurological Disorder) the neurologist mentioned that there was a chance that there was a connection with the migraines and that would be why no migraine medication or nerve-numbing injections had helped.
Fast forward to July 2023 and Verity started suffering from paralysis on the left side of her body and from loss of speech. Understandably she found this very scary as the symptoms resembled that of a TIA or stroke.
What is amazing is that since her accent changed so completely the seizures have stopped but she still has occasional stroke symptoms, tremors and ticks.
Verity Went and how it all happened
In October 2023 (she was now 26 at this point) she went for a nap to try and shake off a migraine and after sleeping for a couple of hours she woke up to find that her speech had disappeared but after about 15 minutes her speech came back. However she noticed it sounded completely different.
She rushed straight to the doctor’s surgery where the doctor and her mom who works there confirmed she was talking with a northeast accent. This change, unbeknown to Verity at the time, is known as Foreign Accent Syndrome. FAS is so rare that only around 100 people in the world have been diagnosed with it and she is now one of those people.
Both FND and FAS have completely changed her life. She had to return home to live with her parents Andy and Gail. Verity says, “ I’m so lucky to have them, their support and love as FND is a very debilitating health condition which is still unknown to so many people and unbelievably doctors. There is also a lack of knowledge on FND, which is what I would love to change. It seems as though there is hardly anything known about FAS and this also can be extremely difficult to deal with.”
Living in the countryside in Staffordshire her village is a place where everyone knows everyone and news travels fast… So as you can imagine news of her change of accent became the talk of the village and is still spoken about now.
People’s reactions towards Verity were so varied and different; some found it funny, others believed her and took it seriously but unfortunately, a large amount of people were, and still are, very rude about it, choosing not to believe her.
It is at times when people are so cruel that Verity realises that her life will never be the same but she does do everything she can to try to make the most of her life as she refuses to let FND and FAS control and ruin it.
Verity Went and how she has adjusted to having these hidden disabilities
Verity found it hard getting used to the health and speech changes and they have been a real challenge especially when at first she couldn’t grasp what was happening to her. And it took her a while to accept the changes but her life has become much more manageable. She has certainly become more confident, making her less bothered about what other people think and to live as much of a normal life as she can. Accepting her new journey in life has also allowed her to be open about my health. At first, being open about her disability on TikTok took a ton of courage but she did it so that she could prove to herself that it was okay for other people to know about it and to understand when she had an episode. Never did she, in a million years, expect her videos to go viral!
As a result she has had a lot of people message her saying they also have FND and they had lots of questions. And even though she couldn’t give some people all the answers they needed it made her feel like she was being of some help.
It was at this point that Verity decided this was the journey she wanted to be on where she could highlight her disability in a positive way.
Verity Went is focusing on her goal
Her goal is to spread as much awareness as possible and help as many people as possible with the same conditions as her. But she doesn’t want to stop there. She would also love to raise more awareness about other hidden or rare disabilities to encourage people’s mindset to change. Life is hard enough without having health conditions and she would dearly love to make a difference to help change that.
Hear how Verity Went, 26 had her life turned upside down when she was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder at the age of 25 in December 2022. This hugely inspirational and natural speaker explains Coming to terms with that was bad enough there was more to come. In October 2023 she was diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome after having a nap to sleep off a migraine only to wake up with a totally different accent. Genuinely her west midlands accent disappeared and in its place a Geordie accent had appeared from now where!