As I’m sure you all know, subsequent editions of the Oxford English Dictionary (now on it’s third electronic edition) will probably only appear in electronic form. More and more, the gigantic books with which we have surrounded ourselves are going electronic. Obviously, this is mostly devastating, but I think I have spotted a silver lining.
Soon, I’m sure, another of those gigantic books, the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (now on its 5th edition), will also be fully electronic, and then it can become fully multi-media. Imagine: a friend or coworker is acting peculiar, you start to wonder whether they might be ill, you go to the DSM website to see whether they meet the diagnostic criteria for a psychiatric condition, and there, next to the relevant behavioral criteria, will be illustrative pictures, links, and…music!
Don’t you think it would facilitate your understanding of psychiatric disorders if you had musical accompaniment while you researched them? Songs which showed, by example, how sufferers of particular disorders might act?
And, in that spirit, I’d like to nominate a song as the musical embodiment of the Borderline Personality Disorder: Dusty Springfield’s ‘Wishin’ and Hopin’’. It’s very instructive:
Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’
Plannin’ and dreamin’ each night of his charms,
That won’t get you into his arms.
So if you’re lookin’ to find love you can share,
All you gotta do is
Hold him and kiss him and love him
And show him that you care.
Show him that you care just for him.
Do the things he likes to do.
Wear your hair just for him, ‘cause
You won’t get him,
Thinkin’ and a-prayin’, wishin’ and hopin’,
So if you’re thinking how great true love is,
All you gotta do is
Hold him and kiss him and squeeze him and love him.
Yeah, just do it, and after you do, you will be his.
All the diagnostic elements of Borderline Personality, they’re all there! The fear of abandonment, the obsessiveness (wishin’ AND hopin’ AND thinkin’ AND prayin’), the identity disturbance (show him that you care JUST for him), the self-mutilation (wear your hair just for him), the clear instability. Granted, Dusty doesn’t display any “intense, inappropriate anger” in the song itself, but it isn’t hard to imagine that she’ll react badly when all that wishin’ and hopin’ doesn’t work out. All the rage and agitation which are characteristic of the Borderline Personality, it’s all simmering right below the surface of the song. Can you imagine rejecting that woman? She’d probably kill your dog! She’d probably squeeze him right to death, with all that love she meant for you. I think that integration of music and other media into the DSM will help animate and clarify the diagnoses – isn’t the Borderline Personality a little more…immediate for you now?