A show births a show
One night, as she sat there watching Chelsea Handler in a round-table discussion about life, Sophie Berriault had the eureka moment.
In that moment, Sophie recalls thinking, “Oh my God, we need to do this. We need to get young people living with MS at a table together, talking and sharing stories.”
This was the beginning of Sophie’s passion project: the, “Souper Party’’ web series.
“I really believe that you can’t focus on the past and you can’t focus on the future. Acknowledge it, yes. But do not let it control your life. You are in control of your life.”
Making the best out of the diagnosis
Sophie still vividly remembers the events leading up to her diagnosis:
“I was diagnosed in 2015. The season of festivals was starting, and I was an agent at the time. It was around the month of May. And everything was off. My hearing was off. My balance was off. I kept bumping into corners. It was crazy. And then, there was a tingling in my foot. I thought it was from an old waterskiing accident. But it got worse. It started going up one of my legs, and then it went up my torso area.”
After a period of uncertainty and a slew of tests, Sophie’s doctor broke the news. “He came to my hospital room. I was with my mom. And he told us that I had Multiple Sclerosis. All I could say was “Wait, what? This cannot be happening to me. I'm Sophie.”
This is Sophie’s story.
P.S., I have M.S.
It wasn’t easy news to digest. But still to this day, Sophie remembers one thing her doctor told her that she has been forever grateful for. He said, “some people, they take this news and decide to make some great changes that really do lead to a better life”. She made up her mind, then and there, to only make great changes to her life.
“Someone asked me what MS has changed in my life, and I was like everything. Absolutely everything. And the main thing I’ve learned is—I have to be super connected with myself.”
‘PS J’ai la SP,” (PS I have MS) was one of these great changes. It was also a way for Sophie to promote the SP show. The first post was a video to explain what the platform was, and it took off like crazy. “My dad just kept texting me about the views on the video. By the time I went on to Facebook, there were thousands of views and I was like ‘What is happening?!’
Today, Sophie continues to find new successes with the web series and her social media platform, PS J’ai la SP. Most recently, the MS Society has opened a research fund under Sophie’s name that aims to raise $20,000 per year for three years, to help support young researchers.
From Work 24/7 to Self-care 24/7
“I had a very dark moment after my diagnosis - I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had to close my artists agency, a project and a dream that I put all my heart, my time and my energy into. I did not know who I was if I was not an agent. I had to find a new path. I had to find other passions other than my work. I didn’t love exercising. But I loved being outside. It wasn’t part of my day-to-day routine. But it is now. Now, exercising is at the top of my to-do list. The research is very clear on how being active can help people with MS in so many ways.”
My MS, My Rules
When asked about what ‘My Rules’ means to her, Sophie responded passionately:
“It means everything. It's actually my philosophy. I feel like there's a different kind of MS for everybody. The experience is never the same. It goes back to listening to yourself, finding your center and making your own rules.”
“And I really believe that you can’t focus on the past and you can’t focus on the future. Acknowledge it, yes. But do not let it control your life. You are in control of your life.”
Embracing a Badass Mindset and ‘cancel days’
Sophie’s secret to taking charge of her MS is focus.
“Focus on what’s important to you, especially on days when symptoms show up worse than usual. I call these cancel-days. I usually know as soon as I wake up in the morning. I feel that fatigue. It's a different feeling from being tired. I have trouble concentrating and everything is foggy. I'm super slow. And when people are talking to me and I can't understand a thing. I tell myself, ‘THIS is a cancel-day,’ and I go back to bed. I don’t fight it. I rest and give myself a lot of love.”
Sophie’s vigour and relentless attitude are nothing less of infectious. She is the ultimate MS badass. You can connect with her and support her projects through her Facebook page. She’s one of many people challenging what it’s like to live with MS, by choosing to experience it on her own terms.
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