• Member Since 22nd May, 2014
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago

Soufriere


Hi. I'm a struggling writer who, in his off-time, writes stories about ponies and humanoids based on ponies. Like my work? Hate it? Let me know.

Sequels1

T
Source

This story is a sequel to Exes Meet


Sunset Shimmer is a smart girl; she knows staying in her apartment for weeks is unhealthy and recovering from a breakdown requires rejoining the outside world. However, she has not mustered up the courage to do so, largely because she is unable to trust her newfound "friends". She still wants to see them in hopes of proving herself wrong. Well, now they're all coming over to visit. Lucky her.

This story is part of Sunset's Recovery Arc. It was originally the end, but…

Rated "T" for references to self-harm in certain chapters.

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 95 )

Oh this is going to be good. Ill read this soon.

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Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Not just for this story, but for this whole series. Just beautiful.

For some reason I expected this chapter to start out with Sunset leaving her room to find Pinkie Pie standing in the middle of her living room, and Sunset getting stuck on how the door was locked.

ohh more to this series

This was so cute! It made me happy. Thank you for writing this! I enjoyed it immensely :twilightsmile:

Aww, so many feels...
I understand Sunset in all that series,and I keep reading that...and just identifying more and more with her...
May I ask,in this series,she have bipolar disorder?

7803370 - That probably would have happened if Sunset wasn't expecting her. Or if she had remembered to lock her door. She usually forgets to.

7801694 , 7804298 - Thank you for coming on this journey with me. I'm glad you've enjoyed it. :twilightsmile: :yay:

7804450 - I answered this in the comments here. TL;DR -- She has symptoms of Bipolar.II, but my intention was she suffers from Major Depressive Disorder: Melancholic variant.

However, it's a fictional world, so her issues don't need to line up 100% with reality. That's my cop-out and I'm sticking to it.

7804911 Sorry for asking ,I haven't read it before...
It's that I'm indetifying so much to her,and I have bipolar disorder.

7805544 - No, no. I apologize for coming off harsh; I was in a hurry, so I wanted to be helpful without having to type up the response again.

I identify with Sunset as well (if it wasn't obvious enough :raritywink:). That's why so many of my stories feature her. And I'm glad you seem to enjoy my take on her.

This was a compelling read!

Probably a good thing the other girls don't really have a way of contacting Princess Twilight, unless they stea... borrow Sunset's journal. Twilight would probably read a half gross of mental health books, consult with several doctors and likely Princess Celestia, who would tell her to calm down.

From there my mind just jumps to Celestia meeting with Sunset and acting motherly to her.

Pinkamena shrugged. “I understand, but I can’t promise I’ll be able to hold back once I’m the me everyone knows. After all, I’ll be so ecstatic to see you again.”

A fascinating take on the dichotomy of Pie. Not two separate people, but closer to it than the average person, by quite a ways.

7815667 - Pinkamena is a character concept I love exploring. I'm so happy I finally got to write her into a story, even if it's not "canon" to Sunset's Recovery Arc. Hopefully it worked.

I could write a LOT about Pinkamena and what she is (in fact, I have). But I won't bore anyone with it here.

This recovery arc was good series! You are very good at providing a lot of emotion with simple, heartfelt conversations. Good job.

Thank you for sharing your writing. :twilightsmile:

I liked this chapter way more than the official Pinkie Pie chapter. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing out of character for the Pinkie Pie in that chapter, but it seemed too goofy for such a heavy subject. This chapter actually addressed it directly, which I liked more.

Pinkie scratched her chin, narrowing her eyes in concentration. “Then… Ooh! It’s because your existence has been co-opted by some hack writer who isn’t comfortable writing group scenes or your friends, and thought it would be easier to reintroduce you to us one at a time!”

Ouch.:pinkiegasp:

Self-Depreciation at its finest.

Yeah I actually liked this one a lot more than the original chapter too.

Ditto. I like this pinkamena and this was a great addition to the story. In fact, I wilm see it as Canon even if you don't.

7815854

Make this canon. It's much better.

Also I'd like to read what you've written about Mena.

7960745 - As far as I'm concerned at this point, both Pinkie chapters can be canon for "Recovery", as they both successfully touch on different aspects of her personality. If you prefer the Pinkamena chapter -- as many readers seem to -- then by all means accept that one instead.

As to my mythical Pinkamena fic… Trust me, you wouldn't want to see it, at least not now.

I wrote it in 2013 before the Pie family got canon names and personalities (actually back before Maud was even known to exist). After Maud happened, I tried to rewrite parts to mention her, but the differences with the canon got to be too much even for an AU fic and I gave up. Plus, I wasn't 100% sure how to work the climax. And, thanks to Sunset, my interests in MLP shifted elsewhere.

I wouldn't mind posting the occasional explanation and maybe even passages in my blogposts, though.

7960894

Trust me, you wouldn't want to see it, at least not now.

Do not presume to be qualified to make my judgments for me. :ajbemused:

7960909 - Fair enough. My apologies. If you really want it, you'll get it.

I'm still not going to publish it in story form on the site. That would take way too much reworking -- I wrote instalments in single chunks of over 15k words apiece; 'Mena's backstory alone is nearly 30k -- and I simply don't have the time now with everything else on my plate.

Watch my blog. I promise I will start to reveal things there soon.

Wow, I shouldn't have put off reading this for so long. (Not really intentionally, just kept not getting to it.) I can understand the comments about wanting this to be canon versus the other one, as it's really strong. It would also open up possibilities to write about Sunset and Pinkie together in a way somewhat similar to Sunset and Rarity.

With that said, I still think the original suits the story better for the most part. It allows the focus to stay on Sunset, whereas here Pinkie steals the show and Sunset ends up comforting her instead. Maybe the "ideal" Pinkie chapter would be mostly like the first one, but with her mask slipping a little when she makes her suggestion that it would be silly of Sunset to try killing herself. But I think having both versions present and this one labeled a "bonus" gives you the best of both worlds, as the reader can make their own decision.

I'll also echo the calls for more info about your old Pinkamena story. I know you tend not to use pre-readers, but who knows, maybe having someone take a look at it (with the understanding that it's in a very rough state) would help determine if there's a way to bring it back?

7964971

With that said, I still think the original suits the story better for the most part. It allows the focus to stay on Sunset, whereas here Pinkie steals the show and Sunset ends up comforting her instead.

And that is exactly why I wrote the original Pinkie chapter the way I did. I love 'Mena, but she is a very spotlight-stealing character, and I wanted to show how the concept of extreme depression is so utterly alien to Pinkie (at least to this Pinkie) that she would make light of it without understanding its gravity. It seems you and I are in the minority, though. Your suggestion of her mask slipping slightly might have worked too. Eh, water under the bridge.

And, for your information, you'll be pleased to know that I think I finally understand why you said what you did about Fluttershy's chapter. I guess I just didn't realize what I had at the time.

Oh, the feels in this chapter.

I got here from the first entry in the series, so you can think of this as sort of a cumulative evaluation of the whole thing. While I think the series has its ups and downs, it's overall an uplifting, yet appropriately grim, examination of mental illness. Sunset isn't a character I'd have pegged as suffering from a disorder of this variety, but even so, she and her struggles are very believable and realistically handled. As are her friends' reactions.

I think that, one of my favorite things about this story and the others in the series (simultaneously, a potential flaw, depending on how you look at it), is just how unprepared so many of the HuMane Six are to deal with Sunnybuns and her trauma. That so many of them have difficulty really understanding what's going on in her head, and don't how to relate to it, is one of those unfortunate, and extra-isolating, aspects of mental illness that portrayals in popular culture/media tend to overlook. And the overarching message of the whole thing, that they don't get it and can't really get it without (god forbid) going through the same thing as Sunset, but that they will love her and support her anyway, is also something that popular media doesn't quite get right most of the time.

That said (and this is why I called it a potential weakness), it feels like there's a big step missing in this series. And that's the part where Sunset gets help.

The fact that she emerges from this particular period of depression, alive and in a more secure place than she was, is a good start. But like I said, her friends, though a good support network for her, are not prepared to help Sunset confront the foundation of her problems, and Sunset has demonstrated that she's unprepared for it too. Which isn't a mark against her; I don't think anyone is capable of handling severe depression on their lonesome without some kind of outside intervention.

And that's what Sunny needs. Her friends lack the qualifications, or the context, to really help her through this period of her life, and they demonstrate that repeatedly. They're well-meaning, but they're also a buncha goddamn kids. And that's made painfully apparent when they do things like, for instance, grab her wrist and gawk at the scars from her parasuicidal gesture (or, in Rarity's case, show them off to Flash; what the hell, Squiggletail?). That's the kind of shit that makes a severe depression-sufferer retreat, and it can really hinder whatever progress they're making. I'm actually surprised that didn't worsen Sunset's condition more than it did, because shit, man...

D'you see what I mean? I don't know if you have the kind of psychological background or whatever to tackle "Sunset Shimmer Goes to Therapy at Whatever Hours One Meets with a Therapist," but if you can... and this is just my opinion... I think that would be a good way to take these stories, if you decide to keep writing them.

7995447
I do see what you mean, and you are in many respects absolutely correct. I know better than most how important it is for one to get real professional help if one needs it. In fact, I had to learn it the hard way.

Well-reasoned critiques deserve serious answers, I believe. Whether my own answers are well-reasoned is up to the reader.

If I had more of a background in psychology (I did take some intro classes in college and did consider minoring in it before going for something else), I might have considered going the plot route you suggested. However, as I do not, and I'm not about to bother my friends who do -- they have real lives, unlike me -- I'm content to leave the series as-is, even though it lacks that big step you noticed. The official purpose of the Recovery Arc was to get Sunset to the point she could trust her friends and have that support network. That at least is better than nothing, which is what she had before.

I believe I also mentioned in one of these one-shots that Sunny can't afford to see a doctor, to say nothing of a psychiatrist or therapist or prescription drugs ('Murika).

Let's be absolutely honest here -- Sunset going to a realistic therapy session would not make for a very interesting story. At least I don't think so (the more likely outcome of her getting sent to a psychiatric hospital as soon as she starts talking about EQG canon, while possibly neat to write, would be counterproductive to what I tried to accomplish with Recovery).

It is kinda funny you said that, because a couple years ago I wrote a document I titled Sunset on the Couch, where she does exactly what you suggest (with Dr.Wolf, no less), though its real purpose was for me to give Sunny a backstory, not to help her through any issues, and I stopped it because I lost interest in the concept -- it was a dialectical rehash of what I had done for Pinkamena the previous year. Last year, I found a better way for Sunny to explain her past, which I hope to roll out later this year now that I'm basically done with Recovery.

You mention how the actions of Sunny's friends -- notably the references to her scars -- are liable to cause her to backslide. That is a legit risk when dealing with the depressed and I acknowledge it. What Rarity did in "Exes Meet" was, from a mental health standpoint, incredibly risky and stupid, yes, but I justify it as her believing it was her only option, since Flash was unwilling to listen to either girl at that point. It was not a move she made lightly… but it was dumb. AJ's actions are, to me, much more objectionable (and were done because I really didn't know where else to go with her; sorry). Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie in the canon chapter never learn about her scars, and 'Shy can empathize because she's been there too. I like to believe I treated the issue with the sensitivity it deserves, though maybe I'm wrong.

To actually address Sunny's foundational issue, as you put it, we need to identify it. That's not hard; her depression stems from guilt over her past actions. But therapy, while undoubtedly helpful, would only get her so far. What she really needs is to do the one thing she's been avoiding for (in my continuity) the past ten years -- go back and face Celestia. Without that, there's no way she'll ever have full closure, and her feelings of guilt will continue to fester. Luckily for Sunny, I already have their reunion planned out in my head (and notes). I hope I get to write it.

PS - As you might have guessed, the real purpose of the Recovery Arc -- some parts of it, at least -- was for me to use writing as a conduit to deal with my own personal issues while still trying to keep characters in-character and create something people would enjoy reading. On the latter part, I mostly seem to have succeeded. On the middle bit, I probably failed. On the first part, only time will tell.

7995876

You mention how the actions of Sunny's friends -- notably the references to her scars -- are liable to cause her to backslide. That is a legit risk when dealing with the depressed and I acknowledge it. What Rarity did in "Exes Meet" was, from a mental health standpoint, incredibly risky and stupid, yes, but I justify it as her believing it was her only option, since Flash was unwilling to listen to either girl at that point. It was not a move she made lightly… but it was dumb. AJ's actions are, to me, much more objectionable (and were done because I really didn't know where else to go with her; sorry). Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie in the canon chapter never learn about her scars, and 'Shy can empathize because she's been there too. I like to believe I treated the issue with the sensitivity it deserves, though maybe I'm wrong.

No, I think you did. And it's to the story's credit that the characters reacted the way that they did.

I was also going to suggest that you include a pie fight, though. Just anywhere. Just write an extra chapter where Sunset has a pie fight with the rest of the gang and she says "wow, I guess I kinda have to shower after this now :V" and everyone laughs and it's beautiful.

As much as I suffered- and suffer -from the depression that comes with low self-worth, I can honestly say that I've never been close to slashing my wrists.

Growing up, I never had the opportunity; comes from living in a place where even Chapstick is locked up. Long-term residential placement; speaks for itself.

By the time I was though, I learned enough to realize how stupid something like that would be.

Equestria's parallel world is obviously not our human world. Unless you're on the other side of the planet, analog broadcasting doesn't work. Especially in the states; it's all digital now.

“Well… here we go. I can do this. They’re good kids. I can do this.”

Here we go indeed! Keep it together Sunny! :raritywink:

Ok, slightly rocky start, but it worked out! And it will get better from here! :twilightsmile:

...right? :twilightsheepish:

See, much better! :raritywink:
After this, Ponk & Shy should be a breeze :twilightsmile:

Also:

Now, I gotta skedaddle on home an’ help put food on my family.

AJ plannin a food fight? :applejackunsure: :rainbowlaugh:

Ok maybe not a total breeze, but not awful, right? :pinkiehappy:

7803370
now that you mention it, Sunny did lock the door after AJ left, but Pinkie just burst rite in anyhow :pinkiecrazy:

I love PDP as a realistic character (i.e. NOT "Cupcakes" version :twilightoops: ), and having her sometimes peek thru when Pinkie's edges start to fray helps prevent Ponk from easily becoming a one-dimensional caricature :pinkiesad2:

Being a one-dimensional caricature myself, i can appreciate that :derpytongue2:

Fluttershy Flutters: Universal personification (and Ponification) of kindness :yay: :heart:

As many others have said thruout this series, as someone all too intimate with the subject matter, i really appreciate the deft & realistic way it was handled. Thanks for that :pinkiesmile:

And now, on to the story to bring things full circle into the Burritoverse: Rarity Pays for Burritos! :raritywink:

8031647 - I wanted to mention this when you first commented, but I didn't. *ahem* They make television aerials capable of picking up digital broadcasts from the traditional over-the-air networks, since not everyone can afford (or wants) cable or satellite. So, that was not a mistake or oversight on my part.

8036110 - An ancient gag referencing an infamous quote by George W Bush. Because I'm an old fart, and it fit AJ.

8070260

Yeah, I'm aware of that. All I know is that the FCC changed the policy; so much so that those that don't want satellite or cable had to get a special receiver.

Probably the one you mentioned, now that I think about it.

I like Sunset naming all of her things. I can't decide if its an Equestrian thing or a Sunset thing.

Pinkamena Diana pie is really hard to write for. I am having a chapter in a story where pinkie sees Sunset hurts herself and she gets stuck in pinkamena persona because she thinks it's her fault. And I'm struggling to write her. It's a good thing she doesn't show up much in the show. Starlight Glimmer has yet to see that side. Now I would watch that episode.

... heh, ironically, this is actually a really good way of dealing with someone coming out of depression, she kept her from focusing on her problems, and she got her to make promises about what she'd do in the future, which is super important.

8130364 - To me, it's just a Sunset thing. That's why characters point it out.

8130366 - I actually find 'Mena amazing to write for. Of course I've written so much about her (that no one here has ever seen), I've got a pretty good handle on her character.

8130951 - Not sure about EQG, but in Pony-land, I firmly believe Pinkie Pie is by far the smartest of the Mane 6.

8132390

The way I see them is, Twilight has the most knowledge in a single subject (magic), but Pinkie has a passing knowledge of just about everything. In D&D terms, Twilight is a studied wizard, where Pinkie is a jack-of-all-trades bard.

8145713 -
I can't disagree with that. You know the full saying? Jack of all trades, master of none, though ofttimes better than a master of one. Pinkie Pie is a legit polymath.

If it were anything other than a pure magic duel, I'd much rather Pinkie have my back. My belief has always been "Twilight, while undeniably intelligent, is not as smart as she thinks she is."

8145823

Honestly, I'd take either or both. Better than none.

Another theory of mine is that all Pinkies in all possible worlds are interconnected. EQG Pinkie, Pony Pinkie, and potentially thousands of others, all sharing knowledge.

I like different things about both endings. It's a somewhat better story because the cold start into super heavy territory, while it was genuine and even realistic, was awkward. So stepping things down a notch lets your take on the characters and their voices show through better, imo.

I like this story better than the first two in the series and look forward to seeing your style evolve further. :twilightsmile:

You don't do anything wrong in this story. As a series of character studies of the HuMane Five and Sunset with ruminations on guilt and forgiveness, it works.

However, it somehow lacks overall impact, like the story's lasting impression is less than the sum of the parts (for me anyway). If you'd like I could explore this ? But only if it won't dishearten you. Because he biggest thing is : keep writing. You do have something worthwhile to share and I do like the bits of insight into the characters you erratically but poignantly convey. :yay:

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