• Member Since 12th Aug, 2017
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chris the cynic


Someone who doesn't know how to describe herself, is always struggling with debilitating depression, and won't stop hanging onto the hope that happy endings are possible.

T

Luna and Sunset talk on the roof of Canterlot High School.

Sunset has no desire to kill herself; what concerns Luna is that that isn't the same as wanting to be alive. In fact, it's not even close.

Note about the content:
The "Suicide / Self Harm" tag is only for stories that actually contain those things. There's no warning tag (or any kind of tag) for stories that contain discussion of those things, or related things, without actually featuring them. So I'm warning you here.

This is about a specific kind of deep depression: the kind where you don't particularly want to live. At one point Sunset talks about possible ways she could die, and how none of them would bother her. So if you're not up for reading things suicide related and suicide adjacent, steer clear.

Now that I've spoiled almost every aspect of the story, let me ruin the rest. I didn't tag this as "Sad" because I don't think it's sad. It's definitely heavy, but that's not the same thing.

You might disagree about whether it's sad, though, so take that into account when deciding whether or not you want to read it. If you do read, and you think it should be tagged as "Sad", please tell me in the comments. (The last thing I want to do is bring people down when they're not prepared for it.)

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 31 )

Can you do a sequel to this about Sunset moving in with Celestia and Luna?

This was pleasantly surprising. Most Sunset fics that touch on suicide are hilariously bad--it's nice to read one that has respect for the subject, and it's helped further by the quality of the dialogue.

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Agreed. Any chance for a sequel?

I honestly don't know what to say about this story.

The subject matter throughout this story hit far closer to home than I like to admit, because I've never even heard of the notion of passive suicide and never considered such. But at the same time I found myself laughing at Luna's comment about brain weasels and how she was bribed with video games and their related hardware.

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I'd never heard of it before this year. I think it was only a few months ago that I learned it was a thing. A thing that I seem to be. (And have been, to one degree or another, for long enough I've lost track of when it started.

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Thank you.

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I've thought of it, because that's the kind of thing I think about, but I don't have and real ideas beyond "That's a story that could exist", and I've got lot of other stuff in progress right now.

For an example of stuff in progress, I'm really looking forward to the Silver Spoon subplot in Fractured Friendship. Sliver Spoon isn't even in Fractured Friendship yet. The absolute earliest I can see her appearing is chapter four. It's stuck at chapter one. I've got several things like that.

This is an excellent story. Thanks for sharing it here.
Also, loving Brain Weasels. That is a good phrase.

Wow, that hit home kinda hard.

Didn't know there was a technical term for it, but I definitely know where Sunset's coming from here. Not a pleasant place to be.

If nothing else, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who's... shall we say, familiar with that mindset.

And, well, if it does reflect your feelings, rest assured, I'm pulling for you.:twilightsmile:

I love this. I'm writing a fix about Luna adopting sunset because I personally think Luna would better understand sunset and her needs more than Celestia would

9788914
I agree with you, Luna would be a better mom to Sunset than Celestia. I don't mind Luna is Sunsets aunt. But I think that Luna understands Sunset than Celestia would

Interesting conversation between Luna and Sunset.

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Just so that no one gets the wrong idea, I'm not the one who created the term "brain weasels". I have simply come to use it, for it is a good term. I don't remember from whom I first heard it, mostly because it's used by a somewhat-wide cross-pollinating group of people I know. Looks like it's been around with it's current meaning since at least 2010.


I realized after writing Indifference that I'd already written Sunset encountering the term in another Equestria Girls fic, complete with it's own version of the "technical term" defense. It's just that since Fractured Friendship is stuck at chapter 1, and it's a scene from rather later in that story, it hasn't been posted here.

This is the original version of Sunset hearing the term "brain weasels" (from a different person and set in an entirely different continuity):

“It's important to be fair to yourself,” Octavia said, “and part of that is treating yourself as well as you treat others.  I judge myself far too harshly all the time, but then I remind myself that I'd never be so cruel when judging another. It's not a panacea, but it can help keep the brain weasels at bay.”

Sunset, despite herself, snorted.  “Brain weasels?”

“I assure you that that is the correct and proper technical term for the phenomenon I'm describing,” Octavia said, which was made all the funnier by the fact that she'd clearly mustered all of the 'prim and proper'ness her voice could contain.

[snip]

Octavia said, “There's nothing wrong with what you were feeling, I feel like that all the time, the only thing that matters is how you respond to it.”

“By laying out brain weasel food and clanging a dinner bell,” Sunset said, “obviously.”

Other than the fact that those two characters are going to have an amicable conversation, there's nothing really spoilery in that bit, and not a lot that's spoilery in the full scene either. If you're thinking about clicking that link, though, I should warn you about something.

That's a rough first draft (complete with plenty of typos and grammatical errors) that basically became an object lesson in why, despite what they say, telling is sometimes better than showing. (Specifically, wide swaths of it could be cut out and replaced with things like "The conversation drifted, and they went on several tangents," which would probably be an improvement.)

Apparently I wrote that exactly five months ago, at which point I believed my writer's block and/or depression was breaking, meaning that I might be writing again soon. I was wrong.

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So, just to freak everyone out, my initial thought on Sunset and Luna (when I first came to the fandom) was that Sunset/pony-Luna would make for a good ship. The two Sunset ships I absolutely expected to see in force were Sunset/Princess Luna, because of how much they had in common, and Sunset/Human Dash, because of how well they complement each other. I was shocked (shocked I tell you) to find so little of either.

Mind you, this isn't quite the same as me saying that I think Sunset should be dating the person you think should be her mom, because I don't see Sunset/Human Luna working (even a little) as a romantic pairing.

And, actually, the idea of VP Luna as mother figure to Sunset has been growing on me.

It's been sort of a long journey.

So way back when I first came here I wanted there to be a sequel to Dainn's Anon-a-Miss, and --since Dainn had given blanket permission-- set out to write one. Part of the premise of A New Path Forward is that Sunset starts out living with Luna. I didn't pick Luna for that roll; I probably would have defaulted to Celestia. It's just that Sunset was already staying with Luna at the end of Dainn's story.

That was only supposed to be for one night, and the story actually ends the morning after that night, so there's plenty of reason to believe that it's over when the story ends, but I went with the idea that after learning the full extent of Sunset's injuries, relevant adults insisted that Sunset shouldn't be on her own until she'd fully recovered. In that case, the logical person for her to live with is the one she was already staying with.

Which means that I published my first chapter of Sunset living with Luna two years and two days ago. I've never stopped thinking about that story (the next Sunset and Luna chapter will be Chapter 4, by the way) which means I've never stopped thinking of Sunset living with Luna.

I've liked a lot of Aunt Luna stories because that puts her in a place where she's family without introducing the barrier of parent vs. child. (Technically caretaker vs. child.) Luna is free to be more fun, and in some ways be closer to Sunset, when the responsibility for taking care of Sunset isn't all on her.

Fun fact: Know why the "Before everything went wrong" myths always have Thor and Loki hanging out? Because uncles (myth-Loki is Odin's blood brother) were expected to hang out with their nephews in Norse culture, as the Uncle-Nephew bond was both strong and close.

Now, Luna-Loki and Sunset Thor is probably not something anyone's going to argue for, but if you take your attention off the specific case of Thor and Loki and look at the more general situation, Aunt-Niece bonds are a lot like Uncle-Nephew bonds. There's something about being very closely related (or just very close in a family-type way), but not a parent, that allows for a certain kind of relationship.

All of that said, sometimes someone needs a parent who knows from experience what they're going through much more than a fun aunt they can really relate to.

In a story like this, where Sunset very clearly isn't healthy (to the point it's screwing up the most basic aspects of her life, no less), I think it's significantly better to have Luna as primary caregiver. If I can both finish it and fit this in without violating the word limit, my entry for the Sunset Shimmer Shipping Shenanigan Contest is going to go there too. That would make two in a row.

By contrast, when Sunset's in a much better place mentally, I think she'd do equally well with either of them. Of course, part of that comes from the fact that a Momlestia comes with an Aunt Luna, so it's not like Sunset would be missing out on Luna entirely if her mom were Celestia.

For Twilight it was probably more about ease of getting up, and not so much a question of whether or not it happened

Considering how Twilight's not used to bipedalism, I'm not quite sure that's the case. Or, at least, the ease would matter.

But that, being there for Luna in general, buying her a ton of video games, and pointing her toward professional help is the limit of what Celestia can do for Luna.

No, I think there's one other really important thing Celestia did for Luna: she's probably the one who got her the job as Vice-Principal. That gets her out every weekday, doing something that visibly matters - and, what's more, in a place where Celestia can encourage her if it's ever needed.

Comment posted by Eruantalon deleted Sep 2nd, 2019

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Hope you are bringing it out soon! I love reading stories with sunset and Luna

“Why would she make it so high?” Luna asked. “Even if the books are better to sleep on, I can’t see adding additional layers making things any better.”

cold and draught

Is this story getting a sequel? I’d love to see it. I think this story is so great and could really go somewhere.

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That's high praise.

If I had the inspiration, I'd certainly be interested in showing more of these two, but right now I don't particularly know where things go from here, and there's another thing too. I have ten stories in progress. The one thing they all have in common? I stalled. Many of them have been sitting at one or two chapters for years.

So, I guess the answer is: maybe, but don't count on it.

10144775
I'd like to see a sequel. Normally, Celestia adopts Sunny. I can't remember as story where Luna does.

Also, this story hurt me. It hit way too close to home at basically every line.

I'd like to see a sequel.

Thanks for saying so. If I'm able to, I'll do it, but the odds of me being able to are low. I've been writing more, which is a good sign, but it was three beginnings to new stories in entirely new continuities, which is less promising when it comes to continuation of anything.

Writing more, or indeed at all, is the only positive sign with respect to my depression in ages. Possibly since I had some false hope back in September, but it wouldn't be surprising if there were more recent promising signs that I've forgotten about.

Also, this story hurt me. It hit way too close to home at basically every line.

Sounds like we have some things in common. Living this way sucks; I'm sorry you've had to.

I can't remember as story where Luna [adopts Sunset].

I only know of one where Luna does. Unfortunately Luna adopting Sunset is sort of all it has going for it.

I present, A Story in Desperate Need of a Ghostwriter:

TAftermath Of The Formal
Just when Sunset Shimmer finds herself in her darkest days she is able to find the light through all of those who love her.
Shimmeringsun · 146k words  ·  176  19 · 5.6k views

So... This is what i have... I didn't know there was an actual term for it. Huh. Thanks for sharing the information.

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Since I wrote this, I learned that there was another definition floating around out there, which I think sucks, but it I figure it's important to know that it exists.

So, according to version 2 of the definition, someone is passively suicidal if they behave exactly the way described in the story, and face all of the same dangers and challenges, and in their super secret heart of hearts they want to die. They never intentionally do anything to make their death unlikely, and the things they do unintentionally have nothing to do with wanting to die and everything to do with not wanting to live, but the desire has to be there for them to count as passively suicidal.

I really, truly, and in all other ways (verily) do not like that definition. If the whole thing is entirely tied up in not wanting to live, and whether or not the person wants to die has no bearing on their actions whatsoever, and very little bearing on their thoughts and feelings to boot, I think that the definition should be built around about not wanting to live.

If I'd originally encountered the term in it's, "To be passively suicidal means that all of these things are true, but when determining whether or not something is, we only care about that other thing that's way over there," version, I probably wouldn't have remembered it, and even if I did I certainly wouldn't find it meaningful.


Very short version:
There is another definition out there. It says that someone is passively suicidal only if they think, feel, and act the way someone doesn't want to live while also not wanting to die would act while nonetheless wanting to die.

I did not know about this definition when I wrote the story, and I don't like it. I don't think it's particularly useful given that it takes all of the people whose primary problem is that they don't want to live, with all of the consequences that come with that, and then throws most of them out based on a criterion that isn't actually having an effect on what they face (because ,if it were, they'd be classified as actively suicidal, even if only mildly so.)

I encourage you to use and share the usage I used in the story, because I think it's incredibly useful, but if you do it's important to be aware that there is an alternate definition out there.

I don't really have much to say that hasn't been said already.

Partway through the story, I thought, thanks for writing (imho) realism where you could have written fimfic cliche. After completely reading the story, I did think I could have stood to see this story go farther, instead of leaving off where it does.

I think I have to go with my initial judgment, though. So thanks again!

“It’s your job to be the scary unapproachable authority figure who frightens all the students in line by ruthlessly handing out excessive punishment,” Sunset said.

It's a small thing, but glad to see a nod to real-life canon!

“The only true currency of the world’s elites,” Luna said, “video games and associated hardware.”

Ha, wouldn't expect Gamer Luna to show up in a fic this serious, though it also makes sense with canonically Angry Gamer Sunset I guess


I remember you describing this fic as just "you talking to yourself", but with the fitting character dynamic, it works. I really buy these parallels between overlooked Vice Principal Luna and Sunset, and the vulnerability and openness that Sunset needs to show being able to come from that connection. You have a really good eye for connections between characters like this.

And on a personal note, a lot of the lines resonated with me as someone who apparently is also suffering from depression. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have heard something I needed to hear from this.

This story is a painfully accurate description of apathy. It poses the question of if you were to get conned into choosing death, would you have chosen it anyway? It's hard to think about the view from halfway down as it were, because most people don't get to share how it actually feels on the way. Would it be terrifying? Would you be filled with regret? Or maybe there would just be screaming, and then silence.

One thing this story really needed was how it moves away from the edge, and it pulls it off great. There's a certain point where, even though Sunset and Luna are on the edge, it no longer feels like a danger. It mirrors the thought process Sunset has on how she wouldn't jump, but she doubts she'd care if she did. Luna and Sunset just enjoying a conversation about various things, like games and Twilight's bookbed. The ending in particular is a subtle touch, them talking about how rolling off a bed would be easier if there was more distance for you to think. Maybe grasping at straws here, but it's a nice little inclusion.

Absolutely beautiful story that really speaks to me as a person.

...I've really no idea how to comment on this. It... hits too close to home. Sunset might as well be speaking in my voice, for all it's worth, even down to things like:

Luna shrugged and started walking toward the door. “We’ll cross that bridge if we ever actually come to it.”

Sunset had a silly thought. She decided to give into it. “After we cross it,” she asked, “can we burn it?”

A malaphor I've been using for years.

I... I just don't know what to say. I feel like I should say something, since this story emotionally impacted me, but... I can't. I just can't find the words.

I give this one Sunset moving away from the ledge out of one.

First off, I adore Luna. I also like Sunset. Both of them would get along well, surprisingly enough. So let's see-

“Miss Shimmer,” Luna said, “you are the miscreantest miscreant to ever miscrealy miscreant around on this planet.”
“Only one of those is a word,” Sunset said. A moment later she amended that with, “Two, if you go by probable spelling rather than meaning.”
“They’ll catch on,” Luna said, “just you wait.”
Sunset smiled again, Luna returned the smile then looked over the edge of the roof.

Snrk. Good one. I love the banter here already - gives you the sense that they've known each other for some time, and that's nice.

Luna said, “--going to jump.” Luna sighed. “We’ve been through this, Sunset.”
Then what do you want me to say‽” Sunset shouted in exasperation.
Luna seemed to think that over for a moment, then she asked, “Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?”
“That’s a trick,” Sunset said. “Endless sleep isn’t an option. Either you wake up, or you die in your sleep, but the question doesn’t ask, ‘Do you ever wish you could die in your sleep?’ It avoids the topic of death entirely.”

God. I feel this a lot, the desire to just, you know. Stop existing. It's a neat detail that VP Luna is the one to bring this up, too.

Sunset thought about that, then said, “Rumor has it that you live with your older sister in your parents’ old home.”
“I’ll have you know that I was bribed very handsomely to return to that house,” Luna said in a mock-serious fashion.
Sunset raised an eyebrow, “What were you bribed with?”
“The only true currency of the world’s elites,” Luna said, “video games and associated hardware.”
Sunset felt that she had raised her eyebrow too early, for now seemed like a much better time to raise it. With eyebrow raising off the table, Sunset simply looked at Luna.
“My game cave is second to none,” Luna said.

Of course. I don't know what I expected :derpytongue2:. But this is great, just saying. I find that the Gamer Luna headcanon fits VP Luna far better than Princess Luna for very obvious reasons, and this was such a nice way to weave it in.

I love this. This is an excellent, introspective look into both Sunset and VP Luna, and for such a heavy subject matter that hits close to home, it handled it very elegantly and poignantly. It's basically a long conversation, which is why I find it hard to pinpoint any particular segments that worked the best. But that's not a flaw, that's a feature, and it works.

Thank you for this, chris.

Howdy, hi!

I liked this. It's an approachable discussion of this heavy topic without going into the explicit details or some melodramatic display. You handled this incredibly well and I love the back and forth between Luna and Sunset. The story was mature and done expertly well. I especially like that note that Luna was bribed with video games into moving in with her.

Finally, I like that this is set up to be a "start", not an "everything is fixed now" kind of thing. Sunset isn't magically over her problems but she is given and accepting help towards managing or potentially getting over them. I just love the gentle approach to this that you wrote. Most excellent work.

Luna nodded. “That’s why I come here too.”

Well at east we know she didn't come to find any trouble from sunset.

Sunset thought about that. It was an out. All she had to do was lie to Luna, and Luna would drop it. It wasn’t like she had never lied before. She’d lied all the time. Frequently to Luna. On the other hand, it was also a display of incredible trust. Luna was telling her that she’d believe Sunset, whatever Sunset said, even though she knew Sunset was an accomplished liar. That made the prospect of lying to Luna seem like an even larger betrayal than it would otherwise be.

Not the best choice imo, it'll only make things worst.

“I’m not sure the last time I ate," she said, "I think it was probably breakfast yesterday, but I’m really not sure; dehydration and I are long time companions; I try to sleep on a schedule, but it never works, so I don't sleep much; sometimes I want nothing more than for darkness to take me and the world to never bother me again.”

Oh my 😰

“That’s the brain weasels talking,” Luna said.

Never heard that before. :derpyderp1:

“Meaning that, unless you can offer up a more agreeable alternative, you’re moving in with me,” Luna said.

Figured she'd say that.

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