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The pills were first advertised in the local newspaper. The advert was simple: a yellow smiley face held in a hoof of a pony. Underneath the image were three words:

YOUR HAPPINESS, GUARANTEED!

Naturally, Pinkie just had to see if they worked as promised. After all, happiness with no side effect was a tempting offer.

Thank you so much to Troposphere, Seraphem, and Manifest Harmony for prereading, editing, and providing general support!

This story is not about mental health medication, it was intended as a thought experiment about happiness. Also, We Happy Few came out a lot later than when I wrote this! I'm well aware there are similarities, but I wrote this quite a bit before it came out.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 57 )
TankCop #1 · Apr 29th, 2018 · · 2 ·

This has a deep impact with me and my own past. I have a A.D.D. also known as Attention Deficit Disorder. I use to take Ritalin to help me focus when I was younger. However over time I felt I was losing myself by taking them as they needed to get stronger for me to have effects.

After a while I just didn't want to take them anymore. I felt I could control myself and it turned out when I stopped taking them I was a lot more happy and feeling better then I use to be.

It was hard thought letting go of something I was use to taking for so long but in the end, not saying this always works for everyone, but one can rise above ones needs for other forms of control if one can work really hard at it.

Thank you for making this fic. Its really touched me inside.

Just because you don't feel improvement doesn't mean the pills aren't working.

It's a good message. The pills help, but they are ultimately not the solution.

Simply wonderful story. A very, very powerful and well crafted message that manages to fit inside the story perfectly, not feeling forced or preachy, but a natural event taking place that is applicable to so much more outside of it. And the description of Pinkie's first time taking them.... just... marvelous and pretty much exactly how I felt after starting to take anti-anxiety medication. The whole fic is simply an extraordinary exploration of a very important topic done in one of the best ways possible.

Amazing job Whisper.

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What's that image from again?

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We Happy Few. It's a Bobby, one of the enemies you'll face.

8894178
I think its from that Cheese Sandwich episode?

I'd take them if there truly were no side effects. The problem is, I'd never believe there are no side effects and I'd never trust myself to not get addicted.

Even though some ponies abuse them, Happy Mints have caused more harm than good.

I think you mean "more good than harm."

Lmao I used to play We Happy Few with my bois

I'd definitely take some. I only remember experiencing happiness three times: When Sombra died, when the CMC got their cutie marks, and when I found someone else who shared one of my unusual interests (hint: Applejack used to like it too). It's a very unfamiliar sensation to me.

I have diagnosed ADD and categorically refuse to take medications for it. Psychiatrists are the enemy.

Nicely done! Beautiful message. Keep up the good work!

Even though some ponies abuse them, Happy Mints have caused more harm than good. I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself, have you not?” Celestia smiled and gently pat Pinkie again, tender understanding in her eyes.


Is this backward? This doesn't seem quite right...

Also, I would recommend placing the author's note around the top, in addition to the bottom. As I got nearer to the bottom, I started getting a bit upset at what the story seemed/seems to convey - I myself have depression though I need to talk to my fiance about it, which seems to be a side moral of the story and it runs in my family, so it's very easy to get offended by the ending.

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THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING. I need to play this game more. My fiance got it for me for my birthday and I've played it not nearly enough - in fairness, though, I am kind of stuck on one part... but I might just need to start over because of an old bug or something.

Pills for happiness?

No side effects?

They must be M&Ms. :trollestia:

"Even though some ponies abuse them, Happy Mints have caused more harm than good"

I think you got your words mixed up there - "have done more good than harm" would make more sense, contextually, since Celestia has been arguing in their defense.

--
An entertaining read. I'm unsure if Happy Mints are supposed to be more akin to Soma re:1984 or a stand-in metaphor for anti-depressants - I assumed the former at the beginning, but at the end I almost felt like it was slanting to the latter. While the two are similar in function (ie both serve to make you feel better) they're very different in use - and presumably how they work. This could be a really neat idea to explore with more time and detail - but as it stands it's more an invitation to ponder than a proffered opinion or analysis.

tldr: neat.

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For a lot of us it's the only solution.

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Right. There is no way I could just take mental illness seriously, no, I must be a shill.
You're stupid. You'll find that I don't much care for your opinion on me being a shill or not.

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I take mental illness seriously, I just object to being lied to by "professionals" who tell me that I have a disorder even though I don't.

8894727
Maybe medicating your ADD is not for you, but that seems a bit harsh to call psychiatrists "the enemy". There are a wide variety of psychological diseases, disorders and disabilities, and for some of those the established best practice is to medicate in either the short or long term, often alongside other treatment. The best person to manage such medications is a psychiatrist.

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Good catch, thanks! (Silly me, can't believe I missed that!)

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Yeah, you're definitely stupid. What's next? You don't believe your doctor if they tell you that you have brain cancer cause you feel fine? You honestly scare me a little.

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With all due respect, please take your disagreement elsewhere.

Even though some ponies abuse them, Happy Mints have caused more harm than good.

I think you meant that the other way around.

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Thanks, thought I fixed that, must not have saved. :twilightblush:

8895001
Oh, I've had the story opened for a bit. So you probably did and I just had an unrefreshed version. Sorry! :twilightsheepish:

If you could take a pill that would make you happy with no side effects, would you?

Well...no.

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ADD was useful in the days when humans were preyed upon by sabre toothed tigers and terror birds and needed to be on the alert.

I'm getting a "We happy few" vibe frome this is that weird?

Haven't read the story yet, but really wanted to throw in my thoughts on the interesting question it put forth. WOULD I take a pill that could make me happy, with no side-effects? I'm guessing this is probably an unpopular answer, but in all honesty....yes. Yes I would. Oh, not every day mind you. While I assume the "no side effects" includes addiction, it's still easy to grow EMOTIONALLY dependant on something. You don't need nicotine or addictive substances to develop an addiction; your brain can create those things perfectly fine on its own, so it's important to exercise self-control, and avoid things you feel you may not be able to control yourself on. Good example: I've skipped several VERY appealing collectibles and toylines, because I don't trust in my ability to control my spending if I got hooked. Self-control is where it's at when it comes to stopping a non-narcotic based addiction before it starts...self-reflection and foresight aren't perfect deterrents, but they sure help!

Sorry, got off track. Backing away from the addiction thing, I'd like to explain my answer properly. Two simple words pretty much sum up my thoughts: "Clinical Depression". If you haven't experienced it for yourself, trust me, it SUCKS. There are few things worse in life than going through it without really LIVING it. There are days when you wake up, and just KNOW that it is going to suck majorly. Nothing you love seems to cheer you up. You have trouble building up the energy just to eat or shower. You'll find yourself sitting on the floor, doing nothing, with your brain just on an endless loop where every problem in your life seems insurmountable, and sometimes it'll even make up problems where they don't even exist. You'll find yourself reacting to things in unusual ways, lashing out at friends, family, or just the world in general for simple intruding on you and your funk. You'll start crying and not know WHY. For some, a day like that is bad enough that they'll do ANYTHING to escape it....for some of those people, that day tragically is their last.
My point being, on days like that, HELLS YEAH I'd take that pill. Give me four of those suckers a month, save them for the very worst of days, and I will happily take something that offers a way for me to break free. The things I could ACCOMPLISH in just one day of happiness is astounding to think about. 16 hours where the world doesn't suck, and you feel you can do BETTER, and you WILL make changes happen. You'll make phone calls to friends and family, reestablishing connections. You'll get your shit together and clean your house, organize your closets, remove all that clutter, and find that a pleasant environment does WONDERS for improving how you feel every day. You'll look into ways to improve your life, maybe research some career paths, check into schooling, create a dating profile, outline a budget. You'll go shopping, filling up that empty pantry with healthier foods than you'd eaten in months. You'll go for a jog, take your dog to the park, learn a new skill.16 hours is a LONG time if you're properly motivated, and those 16 hours can CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Now, imagine having those hours two or three times a month. You'll be able to enact REAL CHANGE in your life and actually DEAL with some of the things that were contributing to your depression in your first place!
I'm not just theorizing or throwing out blind opinions here; I've been prescribed stimulants in the past. Pills that turned my way of thinking upside down, put a smile on my face, and gave me the kind of energy I'd rarely experienced. My body adjusted after about a week, and I settled back into my funk eventually...but the changes had already been made. My apartment was clean, I had sold off a bunch of crap that was cluttering my house and made enough cash to get me out of debt, switched out my disgusting furniture, put in requests for financial aid and signed up for school! I'd tracked down and gotten myself a proper therapist. I'd started looking into places I might be better off living, where I could surround myself with loved ones whom I'd long neglected. I'd nearly turned my entire life upside down, all in under a week. I KNOW the power of happiness, especially how it can impact a person who rarely experiences it. Screw the "moral implications" or hypotheticals. It's far too easy for people to look at something that seems like an easy way out and say "that isn't real", "it's just an escape", or "you can't find real happiness from chemicals". Guess what? Real happiness DOES come from chemicals. Heck, ALL emotions do! Some of us were just born with or developed problems getting them to work right. Medication isn't an escape, it's a TOOL. And one that could lift me out of the worst of depressions, without consequences? That would be a dream come true. Because happiness isn't JUST about feeling good. It brings so much with it; energy, motivation, and the ability to come at life from a whole new perspective. If you offered me some of that, and I took precautions to make sure I didn't grow dependant on it (again, requesting I only be allowed 4 a month sounds right), I'd snatch up that offer in an instant. And the smile on my face would be all the proof my friends and family needed that my life was better off for it.

8895647

Haven't read the story yet

I don't mean to be rude, but you might want to do that if you're going to spend 1k words writing a comment on a story. Just saying, it's common courtesy to read the stories of those you post a comment on, especially if it's a long one. I know the author would quite appreciate it.

Even with no side effects, you'd likely would've get addicted. For those who are more routine prone or depend on it to do something in their day anyways

8895831
I am truly stunned that this hadn't been linked earlier. Thank you for making me giggle.

This is a nice story. However, I have only one gripe. It's a minor one, given this takes place in a fantasy world with talking mini-horses and magic. I'll put a spoiler over it, just in case, since it does technically spoil the end of the story, and I don't know if anyone brought this up or not.

You should never, EVER, flush unwanted/un-needed medication down the toilet. (I know the Happy Mints aren't technically medicine here. They're magic.) If you take it back to your physician/doctor/whatever, they'll safely dispose of it for you.

8895838
good point! You are absolutely right, and that's very important to note!

(Though I honestly wrote this story as a thought experiment, not as instructions on what to do with medications or how I feel about antidepressants. :twilightsmile:)

8895848

Oh, it's fine! This was an interesting little story. I just thought I'd leave a little PSA.

8895696
No worries, I plan on it. ( ; I'm just normally a very lazy person, so when inspiration strikes, I try to jump on it before it fades. I can't write fiction, as my strength in writing lays in discussion, debate, and the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Therefore, I pitch in on discussions where and when I can.
Also, if the story or the other posters offer thoughts, whether they agree with my initial thought or not, I'm always happy to take in new points of view. The certainty and conviction that come across in my posts is partially a by-product of my writing style, which relies heavily on passion, metaphors, and being annoyingly long-winded. Still trying to expand my horizons in that regard. ^_^; I just really enjoy participating in discussions and debates, and a well-constructed counter to my thoughts is likely to sway me. ( ;
In conclusion, I will most certainly read the story, and likely will enjoy it. I also plan to keep weighing in on topics occurring in the comments section, and am always open to responses of any type. ( ;

“Yup,” mumbled Pinkie, dumping a few more in. “If I do get depressed, though, will you help me through it?”

“Always,” Twilight responded without hesitating, clearing away the empty bottles.

The best part of this. By far. I don't have depression myself, but I do know people who do suffer from it, so seeing people, or in this case ponies, willing to help with a friend's depression should it come, it makes me happy.

If my depression wasn't getting more manageable with therapy, I'd probably take the pills. Anything's better than going back down that mental hole.

I feel very fortunate to have found a psychotherapist with whom I get along well, and who has really helped me recover. My depression and social anxieties hinge largely on childhood trauma, so cognitive behavioral therapy has been working pretty well. If it was rooted more (or also) in biochemical upsets in my brain meats or genetic factors, I might need medication, and I'd take it according to the doctor's advice.

Hrm.

If I wasn't so familiar with the stigma of being on meds, I'd feel less conflicted about this story.

Inside the story world, I like it. But I think what's missing is the perspective of a pony who *does* need it, who doesn't abuse them like Trixie does.

Admittedly, the stand-in being magical complicates things, since it's actual distilled joy instead of something that makes a brain work properly. But as it reads, it's hard not to see Pinkie almost as someone who maybe *does* need these, but who feels normal now, and having seen the downsides when they're abused or used by those who don't need them, is about to go off her meds cold turkey.

And AJs rationale is almost verbatim what I've heard from some anti-medication activists.

On reflection, the story almost reads more like a nuanced and rational pot parable that accidentally carries a side-dose of "get off your meds, you're just doing drugs legally!"

Having that voice of a pony who *does* need them, and who would be hurt if they were banned, would help that. But, like you said, not meant as an antidepressant parable. Just carries strong undertones of one.

Incidentally - as someone who would literally be a shaking, quivering, sobbing, incoherent *wreck* without my meds, and who knows it because it has happened purely by accident before - anybody who's going to say antidepressants and antianxiety meds are harmful and shouldn't be prescribed, or that you just need to buckle down and get over it, or that I need to replace my meds with a fricking nature hike, or any of that other chemophobic BS, can go *take* a hike.

Not all meds are for everyone. But for some of us, they're why we aren't in an institution.

8900004
Yeah I got a bit of an uncomfortable vibe in that direction as well. The author note at the end practically caused whiplash because I'd been suspicious about it being some anti-meds message.

This is a good and educational story. Thank you soooo much!!!

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thanks for the comments and analysis. It.... actually wasn't written as an anti-med commentary. I wrote it as a hypothetical question (the short description), and then tried to figure out potential responses to it. To be honest, I was pretty shocked at some of the reactions, as commentary of that sort was not my intent.

8901131
This is not an educational story, though. Please always take medications, esp. antidepressants and mental health medication, as your doctor prescribes (don't skip days, no matter how much better you feel. Trust me, that makes things worse), please do not dispose of drugs by flushing them down the toilet, and please, don't take medical advice from fanfiction. This has been a bulletin from the sleep-deprived author of the fic. (Though I really am glad you liked it! I hope it was a fun and interesting read, and thank you for the kind comment, it made me smile!)

8901482
I know. Death of the author sucks, don't it?

pinkie, there is a civilization of sea ponies in the ocean, don't flush happy pills down on them

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