Melissa Bernstein is the co-founder of the Melissa & Doug toy company, which she founded alongside her husband. Melissa & Doug, based in Connecticut, “envisions a world where children can ignite their imagination and sense of wonder so they can discover themselves, their passions, and their purpose is impossible unless we stand together against racial injustice.”
Melissa’s work through her company has impacted countless children, and she seemed to be successful and happy in every sense. However, secretly she has been struggling with mental illness alone in the shadows. Now, Melissa is choosing to use her experience to help others who are suffering in silence with the publication of her memoir “LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light”.
According to an interview with Melissa Bernstein on Today.com, “Everybody believed that I had it all in the conventional, societal sense of success and that meant I was perfect. I have spent 50 years trying to live up to that model of perfection and failing. The book was my bid to say this is who I am because I had hidden in the shadows my whole life.”
Not only is Melissa opening up about her own personal experience with lifelong existential depression, but she is also using this opportunity to create and foster a supportive community through her wellness platform LifeLines, according to their website, “ Other wellness brands promise you’ll feel better with quick-fix products and immediate solutions. We created LifeLines because we believe those promises are the problem. Believing you need to feel “better” gets in the way of feeling everything and accepting all feelings as part of who you are.”
The toys that Melissa & Doug have designed and sold have provided outlets for children to process and interpret their feelings and their world around them through creative, and imaginative ways, “although her toys have touched millions of children, Melissa longs to connect with people in a more direct and personal way, which is why she created LifeLines. Melissa’s mission is to help other seekers on their journey inward so they too can transform darkness into light.”
The goal of LifeLines.com is similar, but for adults struggling with mental illnesses of any form – they seek to assist members through their journey to self-discovery and fulfillment. The community’s hope is to, “help frame those soul-searching questions that allow you to explore your authentic self and discover what makes you tick.”
It seems fitting that Melissa Bernstein would create a platform that encourages adults to search within themselves in a creative and authentic way as they wade through the emotional muck that has held them down. In her book, Melissa created a framework to guide people through their journey to self-discovery as they seek to understand their emotional lives. She has made the commitment to provide a sacred and private community for people in need of support, and offers resources for times of crisis as well.
What Melissa has realized is pivotal for mental wellness, “If you haven’t filled the gaping hole within and really accepted yourself for who you are and everything you are—your highs, your lows, your in-betweens, your quirks—you will never truly be at peace.” Her hope is that through sharing her own journey through her book “LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light” and in providing opportunities for growth and soul-searching through LifeLines.com, that all people will come to know and accept all facets of themselves as part of a perfectly imperfect person.
If you would like to learn more about Melissa Bernstein, you can visit LifeLines.com or contact her directly at MelissaBernstein@lifelines.com
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