Positive Disintegration
Positive Disintegration Podcast
Creativity and Authenticity

Creativity and Authenticity

Join hosts Emma Nicholson and Chris Wells for Episode 15 with Melissa Bernstein

In Episode 15, Chris and Emma were joined by Melissa Bernstein, co-founder of Melissa & Doug Toys and author of LifeLines. We learned about Melissa’s inspirational journey to self-acceptance and living authentically after spending decades of her life suffering from existential depression and angst.

Melissa discovered Dąbrowski’s theory in her late 40s and described the relief she felt from learning about overexcitabilities as a framework for understanding her lifelong intensity and sensitivities. She described reading Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and learning the word “existential” for the first time, and feeling that it was like being hit by a lightning bolt.

Melissa talked about her path, which started out traditionally with therapy and grew to include autopsychotherapy and deep exploration into philosophical and spiritual works. We discuss strategies she has developed to challenge negativity and nihilism, and combat perfectionism, such as channeling darkness into light through her creative work. We also explore how sharing our creative outputs with others can help us find meaning and purpose, and the importance of taking time out to look after ourselves.

Resources mentioned in this episode

LifeLines website

Melissa’s book LifeLines on Amazon

The LifeLines workshop videos Chris mentioned watching in spring 2021.

LifeLines Community Facebook group

The Melissa & Doug website

Listen to Melissa’s episode on The Good Life Project Podcast

Emma’s blog on Self Care

Click here for the playlist of videos from the 2022 Dabrowski Congress in Denver.

Connect with us!

Positive Disintegration on Substack

Visit the Dabrowski Center website



The Positive Disintegration YouTube Channel

Adults with Overexcitabilities group on Facebook

Dabrowski Center and Positive Disintegration Podcast Community on Facebook

The Tragic Gift blog by Emma

Email us at positivedisintegration.pod@gmail.com

Please consider supporting the podcast to help fund this work through the Dabrowski Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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Positive Disintegration
Positive Disintegration Podcast
What can be positive about disintegration? Join us for an exploration of positive disintegration through conversation and shared stories. It’s a framework for understanding a variety of intense experiences that often look and feel like mental illness, but which can also be viewed as building blocks for creating an authentic personality.