N4L 169: "LifeLines" by Melissa Bernstein


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By Janet Perry, Janet Perry: blogger, and Nonfiction book lover. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.


Co-founder of the toy company Melissa & Doug, Melissa Bernstein reveals the raw truth she's hidden most of her life: for more than 50 years, she's grappled with existential anxiety and depression, bringing her to the brink of self-harm. In her book, ⁠"LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light," released March 16, 2021, Bernstein reveals the raw truth she's hidden most of her life.

Both haunting and hopeful, LifeLines is an unfiltered look at one survivor’s journey from deep darkness to liberating, rapturous joy.

From the time she was little, Bernstein never felt safe sharing her dark, despairing feelings. Instead, she turned to writing for solace. For decades, she kept these words private while vehemently denying her anxiety and depression and clinging to control in any form, especially perfectionism. But hiding behind that façade finally became too much to bear. Now, in her book Lifelines, she unapologetically pulls back the curtain to reveal how she has lived with and finally conquered her own terrifying demons.

Representing all creative misfits, Bernstein speaks out about her difficult journey so others can also find a way to save themselves from the black hole of mental illness. Although “we all have the power to channel darkness into light,” accepting our emotional selves is key to turning things around. Finally accepting her own mental challenges, Bernstein has learned to harness their power and channel them into brilliant, profound creativity and light. Four lines on the book cover summarize how Bernstein has turned her inward struggles outward:

"Today I saved a life; Although it was my very own; Which won’t serve a greater purpose; Till I rescue lives unknown."

Choosing life has allowed Bernstein to transcend pain and loneliness and courageously bridge into connection and joy. “This deep yearning for connection ushered in optimism I had never known. I now realized my mission extended well beyond the creation of toys.”

Melissa Bernstein has designed more than 5000 wildly successful toys. But, in the words of Bernstein’s husband Doug, “This book—authentic, unedited, and her own words—is her greatest gift yet.”

BUY LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light


If you’re looking for support and authentic connection on your own journey toward mindfulness as well as a sense of purpose and meaning, join LifeLines.com, an online community, resource center, and content hub developed and underwritten by the Bernsteins. The website, launched March 1, 2021, is stunningly beautiful as well as a lot of fun to navigate.

Questions or concerns? Melissa would be glad to talk to you directly! Contact her at melissabernstein@lifelines.com.

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178 episodes