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One Woman Is Turning Mental Health Struggles Into Beautiful Art

There's all kinds of evidence suggesting that scrolling through your social media feed can be harmful to mental health. Between FOMO and the need to present a perfectly filtered persona, it's easy to see why. (Plus, having too many social media apps might up your risk of anxiety and depression.) But one Instagram user, Emily Rutherford, is using her corner of the web to flip the script and make you feel better just by scrolling through her colorful profile. She shares paintings on her account @artwithanxiety with messages encouraging self-love and stories about her experiences surrounding mental health.

Rutherford, who opens up about her own struggles with anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder, posts photos of her watercolor paintings with uplifting messages for her followers. In some of her posts she documents the struggles and victories of her eating disorder recovery. "Today, I took the leap of faith and ate a turkey sandwich, my first time eating meat in over 3 years," she captioned one. "Ed screamed at me the entire time as my legs started shaking and I took the first bite. This is the farthest I've ever been in recovery and there's no turning back this time." (Related: Demi Lovato Shares a Powerful Photo About Eating Disorder Recovery)

In other posts, Rutherford talks directly to her followers, hoping to provide a digital shoulder to lean on. "One of the most common DMs I get from people and something I struggle with on a daily basis is the stigma surrounding mental illness," she wrote in her most recent post. "Damage to our brains is the only body part associated with stigma, judgment, and feelings of failure, when developing a mental illness is nowhere near our own fault. You don't choose to have an eating disorder or depression or anxiety or ptsd or any addiction...And it's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, be proud of yourself that you're still here, because that's an accomplishment so worth celebrating."

"Inspo" on social media can do more harm than good, but @artwithanxiety is the kind of inspiration we can definitely get behind.

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