EP 4: Is depression Normal? | A Conversation on The Science Behind The Invisible Disease w/ Dr. Ryan Melton

We all have our own thoughts and opinions about depression & anxiety. But what does the science actually say about where it comes from and how we treat it? Well, today I sit down with a man who has dedicated his life’s work to preventing major mental illnesses. He’s the Assistant Dean of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at OSU and holds his Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. He’s sharp. In this candid and curious convo, I pick his brain on how it all works, and what we can do to save ourselves from it. And we answer the question – “Is depression normal?”


Best Quotes:

“We get to work against the depression, not work against you.”

“Anytime we isolate, and are separate from, community, we run the risk of a wide range of suffering.”


Meet Dr. Ryan Melton of Roseburg, Oregon

-Masters in psychology and Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from OSU
-Recently promoted to Assistant Dean of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northwest Christian University
-Clinical Director of Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA)- identifies schizophrenia in its earliest possible form
-Started practicing in 2001

Can We Prevent Major Mental Illness | Ryan Melton, Ph. D. | TEDxRoseburg

Depression in a Nutshell

  • Invisible illnesses, hits the teen and young adult population hard
  • Often goes untreated

Why do we experience depression and what might some of the reasons for it be?  Is depression normal?

  • Yes, depression is normal.
  • Depression is part of our natural human existence or human feelings
  • We have a spectrum of emotions (it’s healthy!)
  • Anxiety and depression can move to a point where it is severe and debilitating
  • Depression can be triggered by events (i.e. grief turns into depression)
  • MDD (Major Depressive Disorder)- at least 5 symptoms that span two weeks and present mostly every day
  • Persistent depressive disorder- last at least two years (2 symptoms)

Symptoms to watch out for with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder)

  • Symptoms of depression in lower forms
    • Sleep difficulty
    • Lack of motivations
    • “Don’t feel like it”
    • “I’m a burden on others”
    • Negative self talk

We Need to externalize depression (Don’t own it!)

  • “The blame isn’t on the person, the blame is on the depression.”
  • Everybody experiences depression
  • “We get to work against the depression, not work against you.”

Science-Backed Short Term and Long Term Solutions for Depression

  • Support is absolutely necessary
  • Intentional community
  • Psychiatric heart attack- crisis, suicide
  • “Anytime we isolate, and are separate from, community, we run the risk of a wide range of suffering.”
  • Community is a short term solution for crisis and a long term solution for support
  • Depression comes in waves or episodes
  • Once you experience one episode of depression, you are 50% more likely to have another episode
  • Name 5 people you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that you can call when you need support
  • Depression is an external entity
  • Stop owning the depression as if it is yours
  • Maintenance and prevention are the best solutions for depression
  • Have goals for the future
  • What would you be doing if you weren’t overcome by depression?

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