Friends are very important parts of our lives. They become our support system, our allies, people we can depend on, and those that can pick us up when we are down. They mean so much to us, so when friendships start to take a more toxic route, it can be devastating. I recently experienced such a friendship. This friendship ended the same way most toxic friendships end–with sides being drawn and friends being forced to choose sides, ultimately losing more friends. It was tragic.

I had been friends with someone for a few months and we became close during that period of time. We worked together and would hang out together as normal friends would. Everything seemed to be fine. We seemed to have the healthy friendship that you would expect. We enjoyed spending time together. We would make plans to get our nails done together and even went to a concert together. That's why when things started turning toxic and more negative, it came as a shock to me.

I didn't understand what I had done wrong. I didn't know why all of the sudden, someone that I was so close with and I felt that I knew very well, was suddenly a stranger to me. It was horrible. I was not unfamiliar with how it felt to go through a toxic friendship, but for it to come out of nowhere it surprised me. I found myself on the outside of a friend group that I was once a part of and considered to be my true friends. I became the brunt of their jokes. I went from having so many friends to feeling completely and utterly alone.

As things continued and my former friends continued to make up lies about me and make fun of me, I found myself becoming more frustrated and depressed. I found myself giving up and giving in to the negativity that was continuing to surround and suffocate me. That was until I found a light in my life.

Through this, I found out who my true friends were. It seems so cliché, but in this period of time, it meant the world to me. I found that I had one person that truly cared about and supported me. She became such a big and important part of my life. She defended me when I couldn't defend myself and helped me tell my truth to those that didn't know it. Doing this wasn't easy, and yet, she took on each and every task willingly. I couldn't be more grateful for her.

I also found a true and genuine best friend through this entire experience–one that saw the best in me and helped me discover that for myself. She supports me, defends and protects me, and helps me every day to gain back every ounce of self-respect and self-esteem that I once had and lost during this toxic friendship. She inspires me each day to be better and to build my self-worth so that I can finally see the person that she sees. She is a friend that I both needed and wanted. I finally have her and I couldn't be more grateful.

I also found an amazing support system through my managers at work. Each of them are truly unique and special. They care so deeply about their employees and do everything that they can to make sure we're OK. They make sure that we are safe and protected. During the worst of this entire experience, I found that I was able to turn to my managers for the help, support, and encouragement I needed. I was so lucky to have them, not only as my managers but as my friends, as well. I have never worked somewhere that I felt so comfortable, safe, and supported. And I thank them so much for that.

When this friendship first started falling apart, I began to fall apart, too. I was being mentally and physically broken and beaten down by people that I had allowed to become a part of my life. They didn't deserve to be a part of it. I blamed myself for everything that happened and slowly began to give up. I thought that I had nothing left. However, due to the love and support of my friends, I began to realize how wrong I was.

This toxic friendship that I had been part of was ending, but it didn't have to end in tragedy. Through everything, I became a stronger and healthier version of myself. I discovered my true friends and support system. I stopped feeling so alone, and that's because I wasn't alone. Everywhere I turned, I found someone who cared and was willing to help me. I definitely would not have made it through without of them. I am so blessed to have found this amazing group of people. I am truly grateful for the blessings I have received and the happiness I have gained because of the end of this toxic friendship.