I already got my mail back, up and running. Took them roughly 72 hours for a total of 5 days without working mail.
I guess the worst part was when I -had- a working mail, but it was reset so I had no history, no contacts and gmail was adamant I was hacked.
Outside the obvious dread of your personal mails on stranger hands, you keep thinking what kind of mistake you did. Password too weak? Phishing? Virus?
I pondered possible new security measures.... 30 letter long password with russian and japanese characters. Never downloading anything anymore, not even images and not clicking any new link. I would be a digital hermit, fearing every virtual shadow.
In the end I was relieved it was just a mess up on their side. I was fairly sure (but not 100%) they would be able to restore my account so I just enjoyed some days without e-mail. However, some lessons learned...
1 - If they ever say they can't restore your mail, this is not true. They can, they just don't want. Given how long it took I can only guess they have the mail back up carved on stone in the molten core of earth.
2 - If your problem sounds like a common problem, they will give a canned answer and good luck trying to convice them otherwise.
All in all, I won't mind paying so I could have better support when shit hits the fan.
I want to note in the end, I am still using Gmail after the whole incident, and it's probably the best mail provider out there. But before the mess up, I was sure of it.
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