Lorde has shared feelings of self-doubt and isolation with her fans in an emotive email in which she reveals she's "navigating rough patches in close relationships".
The singer reflected on how 2021 had turned out to be a "real f**king head spinner", after the beginning of the year had shown promise with COVID-19 seemingly "starting to recede".
"Remember January 1st? I woke up and took a kayak out to the pontoon (paddling very gently, head very delicate)," she began.
"I lay down in the sun and shut my eyes - yeah, yeah, I'm a caricature of myself at this point - thinking about the year that stretched ahead. It was gonna be hard work, a big change, but nothing I didn't want, or couldn't handle. COVID was starting to recede - it'd all be sweet.
"F**kin sikeeeee! [sic]"
The 'Solar Power' star, who is currently based in the United States, said that the pandemic had made things "difficult, lonely or dangerous for absolutely everyone in varying degrees", but that even outside of that, this year had been "tough in completely unexpected ways".
"Being away from home at a time where the country's struggling to contain the virus, feeling isolated from friends and loved ones there," she explained.
"Looking out at the country I'm in and feeling estranged from so much of what I see, and knowing it feels as estranged from me.
"Questioning what I'm doing and why, all the time, on an unprecedented level. Dealing with rough patches in close relationships, and feeling sensitive and emotional and reactive as a result."
Lorde added that she was also missing interacting with her fans, saying that she had "really questioned" her decision to step back from social media during this time.
"I was so sure skipping the negatives (compulsive time-wasting, IV drip of dread, satisfying but hollow validation loop) would outweigh missing out on the positives (feeling like part of a community, hearing your sweet words, hitting you back)," she said.
"But I've really, really missed you. Normally I'd be doing festivals and shows already, pinging around the world and touching your faces, so that probably contributes to the loneliness a little bit. But man.
"I'm trying to think about how best to balance the digital diet, in a way that feels fun and connected for me and you, but not at the expense of our attention, time or happiness."
The 'Stoned at the Nail Salon' hitmaker apologised if her message had a "heavy vibe," adding: "I'm surprised by it too, honestly."
"If there's one thing I know right now, it's how drawn I am to the sensual, things that make me feel like I'm a person in a body on a planet, things that feel alive," she continued.
"I want next year to be the year of friction. Physical, emotional, spiritual. I want to rub up against everything, and see how it feels."