“Mental health is caring for and forgiving yourself.”
Born and raised in New Zealand, Theia has become one of the most fiercely talked about new talents to emerge from the country. She has toured alongside the talents of Charlie XCX and fans now await the release of her next single Bad Idea, which promises evocations of empowerment alongside reflections on personal battles with self-harm, which Theia sensitively shares here.
What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?
I love to make playlists that realise my feelings and will listen to the same thing over and over again. See my Spotify page and playlists for proof of strong Jaden Smith and Riri addiction. At the moment I’m reading David Dalton and Tony Scherman’s ‘Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol’ which is so well written and the detail is fabulous. I’ve learnt a lot from Warhol and his enigmatic personality and work. My favourite TV show is American Pickers. I watch it every night. I love their reverence for rusty pieces from 100 years ago that hold so much history and are storytellers in themselves.
Your new single reveals your experiences with self harm. Could you tell us a little about that and how you dealt with it?
When you’re a songwriter, you do touch on a lot of personal issues and I’ve found that it helps me to keep some of that private, whilst letting the song speak for itself. I guess that’s my way of self-protection, but also allowing others to find their own meanings in my music. So I won’t go into great detail about my own experiences, but I did write it at a time when I was feeling low and also reflecting on messages I’d received from fans, who had reached out to me on social media to say that my songs ‘Roam’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’ (from my first EP) had helped them to get through their struggles. Lyrically, ‘Bad Idea’ does refer to self-harm, because I think it’s an issue that so many of my generation, and beyond, are dealing with, or have dealt with. But I think the meaning of the song is broader than that. It’s about mental wellbeing in general and a way of letting people know that you shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help.
Do you have advice for anyone who is self harming?
You don’t have to be ashamed, your scars area part of you but they don’t define who you are. Your story is beautiful and important. It’s yours and it will help others too. Have people to call or activities you can do to calm and soothe yourself in your low moments. You are so loved and you are strong. There’s always someone waiting to listen, support and walk beside you. It’s ok to ask for help, you don’t have to do this alone. Recovery is a process, celebrate every victory, each day without self harm is a celebration!
What are your coping mechanisms?
Showers, crying, watching TV in bed with incense or a calming candle, listening to music, taking a walk, having a favourite treat, hugging someone I love, fussing an animal
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
Doing something I love, in the company of those I love and therefore feeling loved (: going to the movies, horseriding, eating at cool little haunts, getting our nails done, playing pool are all examples.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
To have ridden the wave of life this far and to still be here. Having met people who accept me and finding things that give me purpose and that I enjoy.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Learning to enjoy being in your body and finding what makes you happy, gives you a purpose and can help you when you’re feeling down. Mental health is caring for and forgiving yourself. It’s different for every single person and that’s what is so beautiful.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
I love eating as many veggies as I can, drinking lots of water. La Croix is the best to make you feel like you’re having a treat but is also 0 cals so isn’t bad for you either. Lemon in water and green tea. Also taking vitamins like spirulina, evening primrose oil and tumeric.
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
I walk every morning to clear my head, breathe, relax and get focused for the day. I love walking with someone else as it’s really calming talking about life together and anything you need to get off your chest and simply enjoying connecting. At least three times a week I try to do yoga. I never knew how good stretching was until I started doing it. My flexibility improved and I wasn’t as tense.
Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?
Horseriding was totally that escape for me and helped me survive primary school. I felt like myself there. I felt peaceful. Horses are accepting and non judgemental and being in the countryside is great for the mind.
What three songs lift your spirits?
Honestly, just listening to music is such a great comfort. Amy (Winehouse) is truly my favourite of all time so I listen to her at home, driving to festivals, putting make-up on before performances, anytime. She really gets me. Aside from her, three songs I’ve been listening to non stop lately are :
Kitana – Princess Nokia
Kool Aid – Diana Gordon
He’s Fine – The Secret Sisters
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
There are so many quotes that resonate with me but one thing I like to do is affirmations. I instantly feel empowered. Words are so influential. I tell myself I am beautiful, I am loved, I am strong, I am peaceful, I am smart and I can do anything.
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
If I think they’re feeling low, I ask them what’s going on and do they want to talk about it. I let them know that I’m there, that I care for them and love them. If they don’t want to talk it’s ok. I love to be held and feel protected and secure so sometimes, that’s a great gift to give them too.