Melissa Bernstein, the creative genius and co-founder of Melissa & Doug Toy Company, has bared her soul in her upcoming book, LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey From Profound Darkness to Radiant Light. She has been struggling with existential depression and anxiety her entire life. She was denying her despair, hiding it from the world and suppressing her overwhelmingly negative feelings and thoughts that were leading her to the brink of self-destruction. In LifeLines, Melissa opens up and shares all that she has experienced, the challenges she has faced, and her hopes for the future.

Hundreds of rhyming verses included before and after each chapter, written by Melissa, beginning in early childhood and continuing through now, reveal her innermost feelings, biggest worries, and deepest thoughts, from very dark to increasingly positive and hopeful. The beautiful book also includes volumes/chapters that speak to topics that have profound meaning for her: creativity, loneliness, martyrdom and perfectionism. She shares personal stories and recollections of her thoughts at different times throughout her life, often based on childhood journal entries. Also, printed in the book are artful photographs of nature, something incredibly important to Melissa, as nature provides her great solace on difficult days and every day.

These immensely personal pages of self-expression give us some understanding of the struggles Melissa has had with existential depression and anxiety and celebrate the light she has found to continue living with a purpose. I highly recommend this book for everyone … anyone who feels or has felt depressed, anxious, or who knows someone facing these struggles, as well as anyone who is a partisan of self-awareness, self-expression, and the journey inward. Self-acceptance and a greater understanding of others lead to more kindness, and LifeLines provides valuable insight from someone who has traveled the road to greater understanding of self and experienced all the feels.

In addition to her book, Melissa, her husband, Doug, and the Lifelines team have developed an exciting and unique interactive ecosystem and warm community that lives at Here, with Melissa’s personal journey as a framework, you can create your own personal profile and embark on an inward journey to self-understanding. There is a virtual hike with stops along the way to leave your personal baggage behind, collect nuggets of wisdom and participate in activities that encourage mindfulness. There are also opportunities to connect with others, experience nature and attend experiential workshops, all at no cost. ensures that You Are Not Alone, and it is well worth visiting.

LifeLines will be published on March 16 and is available for preorder now.

About Melissa Bernstein:

Melissa Bernstein, mother of six, married 30 years, and founder of toy company Melissa & Doug, has struggled with existential anxiety and depression throughout her life. Although her toys have touched millions of children, Melissa longs to connect with people in a more direct and personal way. She reveals her journey in LifeLines, her first book, which she wrote to help others who are also suffering. Melissa’s mission is to help other seekers on their journey inward so they too can transform darkness into light. Join the LifeLines community at