By JULIANA HATFIELD  |  September 17, 2008

“I’m gonna do it. Now, tonight. I’m gonna,” I thought, every night after the show, as the others were packing up the gear and I waited in the dressing room, looking from my chosen window out at the ground. But every night I would lose my nerve. I would worry: I could break my neck or my back and then wake up paralyzed, if I woke up. What if I died? I didn’t want to die. There was no question about that. I just wanted to feel better, and in my severely depressed, muddled head I honestly believed that the only way for me to make this happen was to jump out of a window.

Every night I got up in front of a room packed full of enthusiastic, clapping, cheering college kids, not knowing how I would summon the energy to get through the show when, because of my diseased state of mind, I had no faith in what I was doing anymore. That was the worst part. All of a sudden my music felt hollow and worthless. I was singing without any love or conviction. Without the belief that what I was doing was meaningful and necessary, there really was no reason for me to be here, to be anywhere. There was nothing else to hold on to. My faith in my music was my one reason for getting out of bed in the morning. It had always been my lifeboat and now it was sinking, fast.

I somehow managed to get through each show and then, later, after I’d chickened out and not jumped out any window, I would go back to my hotel room and pray to God, every night before bed, for the courage to follow through on my plan the next day, to jump out the next window, the next night, on the next campus. Just thinking that it was finally going to happen — to really happen — tomorrow would make me feel almost happy, late at night, for a little while, like a bit of weight was lifting from me; I knew I would soon be lying blissfully unconscious, somewhere safe, out of the swamp in my brain, and away from everything and everyone; from the pressure and the business and the people at the label watching the charts and counting the days until they could drop the ball on me, on my album, on my future. And people would finally understand how much I was suffering, and that I wasn’t sullen and antisocial by choice, and that I hated that I was that way, and they would understand how hard it was for me to navigate the world of people.

But every morning when I woke up, the terrible crushing malaise would be upon me, full force, and I would cry upon opening my eyes, cry because I was awake, cry because I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day and the show.

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