Timothy Heller wants to change the narrative around mental health. The former Dresses musician made her solo debut with the subtly seductive single “Sleep,” a song that highlights dialogue between a woman and her unfaithful boyfriend. And while Heller’s dreamy melodies are enough to have us hooked, what really made us fall in love with her is her willingness to open up about her mental health online—and her commitment to destigmatizing the conversation.
The 25-year-old mental health advocate hasn’t been shy about giving voice to issues plaguing many young women. Whether she’s documenting her journey living with borderline personality disorder or coming forward with her own #MeToo story, Heller wants her fans to know they’re not alone in their struggles.
We sat down with Heller to talk about her commitment to catalyzing social change through music.
You gained tons of media attention after coming forward with your #MeToo story late last year. Luckily, a plethora of people had your back, but because your perpetrator was a famous woman that many looked up to, you also became a target for a lot unnecessary hate. What did you learn from the experience—do you have any regrets?
I definitely learned a lot of things but ultimately I think I learned that our society has a long way to go when it comes to ending rape culture. I don’t regret anything about the experience.
When I wrote this story about my assault, I initially wasn’t going to make the abuser. But I think it’s important for you all to know this is about Melanie Martinez pic.twitter.com/4PQ5oNI2s9
— Timothy Heller (@timethyheller) December 4, 2017
Modern feminism tells us that “all women should stick together,” but we know that women can be abusers too. As you know well, bringing this conversation to light isn’t easy. What advice do you have for other women who have suffered at the hands of another woman?
My advice is to not be silenced, and stop allowing shitty people take advantage of you regardless of their gender. You experience is important and valid and we need to stop letting abusers continue to prosper.
At LittleThings, we’re all about personal style. We believe something as simple as trimming your bangs or getting highlights can be life changing. We couldn’t help but notice you changed your signature green hair! Was there some symbolism behind this? What made you make such a big change?
I’ve definitely been emotional lately but I haven’t entirely worked out what my reason was. Cutting most of the green off was definitely a spur of the moment decision, where I brought up the idea to my friend and then suddenly I was teaching her how to cut hair right then and there. I think after that I wanted to dye it to just move onto the next era of my life, probably.
Describe your style in three words.
Vintage, eclectic, colorful
Why did you decide to open up about your mental health online?
Because something so important to speak up about shouldn’t be taboo to voice on the internet. The internet is so prevalent in everyone’s lives nowadays that if mental illness is something people think should be a secret, those struggling are going to feel alone. And it’s so important to know that millions of people are going through what you are. It needs to have online resources and support just like any other illness or struggle or ailment. Speaking about it is just the first step in the full normalization that mental health awareness needs.
While seeking professional help or guidance should always be a priority, do you have any self-care tips for people dealing with similar issues?
My tip is to try and be gentle and kind to yourself. Invalidating your own experience is so self-destructive and just ends up making more and more excuses for you to continue not getting help. Nothing someone says to try and convince you to get help is going to work unless you want it for yourself. I know the first step seems so impossible, but once you move in the direction of helping yourself you’ll already start feeling so much relief, because you’re not ignoring your mental health anymore and you’re making it a priority. I also saw this thread on Twitter a while ago of mental health resources for people who can’t afford therapy right now, and I think it has some really amazing options.
What was the inspiration for “Sleep?”
I wrote it a long time ago, when I was about 18. It was about my best friend at the time getting cheated on by her boyfriend. He was trying desperately to convince her to stay and she was so overwhelmed she just wanted to sleep it away.
Are we getting any new music soon? If so, what can we expect?
Yep! I have a new single almost ready and hope to have a body of work out sometime this year.
Thank you for your time! Any last words for our readers?
Thank you guys! If someone who is struggling right now is reading this, I want you to know that how you feel right now is temporary and you won’t feel like this forever. And getting better and seeking help is so worth it. Love you!