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A year ago, I lost my soulmate. Not my romantic partner but my best friend. He was the person I went to for everything; to share good news, bad news and anything in between. During the nine years of our friendship, I don’t think I ever left his side, even for a second. For all the tears, fights, happy moments and the love, I was always there. I would never imagine the day where he would leave me standing alone to fend for myself.

One day, he picked a stupid fight over the Christmas present I had gotten him. At first, I thought it was a joke. I mean, who starts an argument over a pair of shoes? Then it derailed into him calling me names, screaming my flaws, and telling me everything that I had “done wrong” in our nine-year friendship. He then said he was done with me, which was the last time I spoke to him.

After he ended the call, I don’t remember breathing. My body was shaking, and anxiety was coursing through my veins. It felt as if I was sitting in a dark hole alone with a knife in my back, and no one was coming to help me. For weeks on end, I would wake up, go to class, sleep, eat, and every time I would close my eyes to sleep, my eyes would shoot open — hoping this was all one bad nightmare. Every time I would realize it wasn’t, I would break down and cry.

When I would try to move on, he would dig that knife in even deeper. He would message me through school email accounts and rude texts, start rumors about me to my friends, and try to take away anything good. I just wanted to be left alone. The worst part is that he went after the one person who stuck by me full-heartedly. This time he went to the extremes. He followed her to her boyfriend’s place to put things on his lawn, went on social media to bully her, and tried to threaten her boyfriend. I didn’t want her to suffer the pain that I had been feeling for the past few months. I felt guilty that she had to go through this as well, and my mind was flooded with the question, When will this end?

After we went to the school to report his behavior, nothing happened. We shared every single piece of evidence and our shared pain, but the school did nothing. After feeling betrayed and unsupported, the time finally came for me where I needed to move on and start getting better.

Even when you start to move on and recognize your growth, the trauma of the situation can begin to creep up on you. I understand that the word “trauma” can seem like an overdramatic way to describe the end of a friendship, but it can create an emotional wound. The trauma can show up in many different ways. Some nights I wake up from a flashback from that night dripping in sweat caused by the nerves. When I see certain people forgive him, I tend to wonder if I am the one at fault even though I know deep down I am not. Even when I try to build new friendships, I have anxiety that I’m making mistakes and that those individuals will eventually turn on me. Through all of this, I have to remember that this fear is not beneficial to my overall well-being and it never will be.

How do I get over something like this?

To be completely honest, I’m not sure if I ever will. There will always be a part of me that worries about my friends more than myself. It can be seen as a negative, but I turn it into a positive because, in the end, this new way of thinking can bring me strong, loving and loyal friendships.

This experience also showed me who shows up at the end of the day. I know that sounds super dark, but it is true. The people that show up for you in your time of need are your true friends. In my case, the people who pulled me out of the dark room are the ones I’m forever grateful for. They have shown me what true friendship looks like and that I will always have someone by my side. There were times when I felt so alone that I couldn’t fathom the thought that someone was there. I’m now grateful that they stood up for me, pulled me out of my bed on the darkest days, and took me to bookstores and on ice cream dates. My supportive friends deserve the whole world..

To whoever is reading this and is going through something similar, please know that you are not alone. I know it is a cliche thing to say, but I hope my story can support you during hard battles. I hope, and I know, that you will make it through this. You matter. Your life matters.

Thank you for letting me share my story.

Zoë Howes

UC Irvine '25

Hi, my name is Zoë! I am currently a first-year journalism student at UCI and I love to write about rom-coms, my messy love life, politics, and more! Hope you enjoy! :) insta: @zoepascale_
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