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unlucky, but also so lucky





Hello loves!


Reactivating this blog as my online diary is one of my goals for this year, but I am honestly struggling with what to write. I feel a bit like a broken record, only ever repeating the same themes and I guess that is a good reflection of what my life currently feels like and has felt like for the past months. I have tried to focus on the few highlights on my social media and have not shown much of the bad times, which have, admittedly, made up most of my time. It was not just about social media being a highlight dump, but also lacking the energy needed to create content at all in those times and also not wanting some things documented on the internet. Moments of me crying on an almost daily basis due to pain and barely being able to leave my bed are not moments I want to document and immortalise online. But I feel like people not seeing you struggling often makes it seem to them like you are not struggling.


Something I often read in my DMs is people telling me that I am so strong for going through all this and still doing so many things. And I read that and feel a bit like a fraud. I get that there is a lot that I have done over the past half year despite being very sick in that time. I wrote an entire book* (it is coming out at the end of this month!), still created content (though a lot less than before), and I applied to jobs and actually started my first real big-girl job this month. However, all those things had some not-so-beautiful sides that you guys did not see.


Writing my book was incredibly hard. I started writing the book pretty much immediately after getting out of the hospital from my spine surgery. I wrote most of the book lying on a little travel mattress on my living-room floor, because I was not able to sit for longer than 10 minutes due to the surgery. I was in a lot of pain and sometimes could not even hold my own laptop for long. Because of that, I would sometimes dictate the text to my boyfriend, who would then type it for me.


Creating content over the past half year was also far from easy. I tried to keep up with my content schedule as much as I could, but often (if not always) did not reach my goal. Filming just a little one-minute TikTok video cost me almost all the energy I had for a day. Objectively, not a lot needs to be done for it - you write a short script (or just keep it in your head if that works for you), get yourself ready, film the video, and edit it. Unless you have thought of a super fancy video, editing such a short video will not take longer than an hour. But even just getting ready was a lot for me. There was a lot of frustration involved in not reaching the content goals I had set for myself and even when I pushed through to get to everything on my filming schedule, a lot of it turned out unusable. I had to take very strong pain medication for months and being on opioids definitely showed through at times. You could often tell in videos that there was something a little off about me in videos, I seemed disinterested and just somewhat off. So a lot of videos, on which I spent a ton of energy in the filming process, ultimately ended up in the bin.


The bad times made up most of my time over the past months and, therefore, looking back at this time does not, to use Marie Kondo's terminology, spark joy. To be brief, my situation feels quite unlucky. I found out in mid-January that my condition worsening was due to the doctors overlooking that my surgery triggered a flare-up of my rheumatism in my spine. This could (and should) have been caught earlier as it could have been anticipated prior to the surgery. (Luckily, this is very manageable with the right medication, but it takes time to get the flare up down) The hospital knew about my rheumatism, but no one checked whether the surgery could affect it. Being in the kind of pain that puts your entire life on hold because some doctors did not do their job is frustrating and far away from lucky.


But I know that focusing on that will not get me anything. Over the past few weeks, I have been doing my best to focus on the good things. My situation is quite unlucky, but I am also so incredibly lucky. Tough times like these show you how good your support system really is, who shows up for you and who you can count on. So I wanted to share a bit of those good things with you. Please do not take this the wrong way - I do not believe that simply focusing on the positive side of things solves your problems. My pain and my inability to live a fully normal day-to-day life still at this point is not erased by this. But I do believe that it can help you cope with the situation. But being able to focus on the good things is something that I would, admittedly, not have been able to do a few months ago, when my health was still a lot worse. I had to get a little better and be able to do at least some of my day-to-day tasks to be able to focus on good things. Before that, my health was sort of overshadowing everything. But we are finally on the right track towards Elena getting healthy again, so here are some positive things from the past few months.


being loved

I am one of those people who are always concerned that everyone might secretly not like them or that they might have done something to upset someone. I am a massive people pleaser and always try to do things for others and not being a burden to anyone. So needing a lot of help from others for months was far from great for me. But I realised that my close friends, my family and my boyfriend consistently showed up for me and always offered me help. My boyfriend basically moved in with me for the first few months after my surgery to help me. My mom took months off work to be there for me. My parents used vacation days to help me get to doctor appointments. They always supported me. It has been really hard for me to accept this help (and also accepting the fact that I need it), but I am so grateful to have so many people who offer it. This has definitely shown me that I have a strong support system and that I am surrounded by a lot of love. Ok, that sounded so cheesy - let's move on.


progress - slow, but getting there

Most days, it feels like there is no progress at all with my health. From one day to the next, there are no big jumps. But if I look back even just a few weeks, things have been getting a lot better. I can go to the grocery store on my own - not to do an entire week's worth of shopping, but buying a drink and a few items is fine. I can carry that again. I can go to my office job and sit there for eight hours. In mid-December, I could not even sit long enough to finish my dinner. There is still a lot that is not as it should be - doing my office job is way too physically exhausting for me, given that it is an office job. I feel like having done intense sport for the entire day after coming home from work. But it is getting better. And that is what matters.


fresh start

I moved. In early January, I found a new apartment and I got the keys at the beginning of this month. The apartment is in my hometown, where I am also working now. Getting out of my small student flat was such a blessing for a few reasons. Firstly, the apartment was actually not that small (at least in my opinion - I think I had an amazing student flat), but the kitchen definitely was tiny. There was no dishwasher and you hardly had space to store things. This made it necessary to go to the grocery store more often and you also constantly had to do the dishes (as there was literally no space to leave dirty dishes out). I think being able to cook whatever I want, or also have a microwave and make myself a quick meal, will really be big help for my mental wellbeing. And having a dishwasher just sounds like heaven to my ears after not having one for so long.


And in all honesty, leaving the place behind, where I experienced so much of the really bad times from the past few months also feels great. Having a new place to decorate and make my own feels like a new chapter and I am excited about it. Decorating a new place is also quite exhausting, but I am excited about the end result. My new flat feels like a little palace to me after my student flat. I have so much space at my disposal and I honestly did not know what to do with so much space. But I decided to use the room I had left over as a walk-in wardrobe. This is something I consider to be a big luxury and I dreamed of having one as a kid. I did not think I would be able to have one so soon in my life, as rents are relatively high in my hometown (Stuttgart) and finding a flat is not easy here. But I got super lucky with this apartment - it costs exactly the same amount as my student flat, but is so much bigger, and has everything I need plus some extra space.


"I think I like this little life"

A few weeks ago, there was this trend on TikTok, where people were posting videos of their normal day-to-day life to a song containing the line "I think I like this little life". And even though my current day-to-day life is not perfect, I have found myself liking it quite a lot. There are moments that are not great - like coming home from the office and feeling like I just ran a marathon. But eating takeout food at home with my boyfriend at the end of the day feels great. Chatting with my dad while building IKEA furniture is fun. Finally getting the second book of a series I started reading a few weeks ago and have been super excited about is great. Working a 9-5 is great - I have lovely colleagues and I am genuinely excited about learning more on the job.


So yeah, not everything about this little life is lucky, but I still think I have gotten incredibly lucky. And I am so grateful for the good things.


Lots of Love,


Elena


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