Michael Jackson was best known as the king of pop, and his popularity has transcended for a generation (Borsboom 2011). He started his music career on August 29, 1958. He became the best best-selling musician in his time and the most famous pop music American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Jackson started his music career as early as the age of 5 years. At the age of 13 years, Jackson released his first song called “Got Be There” in 1971 together with his brothers. They were known as the Jackson 5 (Regan, 1984).
He later released a solo song “Ben” in 1972, which marked the start of his solo career. Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50 (Borsboom 2011). According to the doctor, he died from cardiac arrest on his way to the hospital. Perhaps, the most profound achievement in music came after his release of “Off the Wall” in 1979 and “Thriller” in 1982.
Prior and during his music career, Jackson was physically and psychologically abused by his father (Njoku, 2018). Joe Jackson was seen as the most brutal and monstrous father in pop history.
Psychologically, he was mistreated by his father’s demands in the music by expecting him to perform beyond expectations. His emotional detachment from his father made his life difficult in his home until he was able to move out. It is believed that his father chemically castrated him to maintain his high-pitched voice. His father’s attitude and expectations toward Michael affected him psychologically. The physical abuse of chemical castration affected him both physically and emotionally.
Due to his early singing career, Jackson never had a normal childhood.
He was introduced to music and performance at the age of 5, which stole his childhood life. He was also exposed to sexuality early in his life. When he went for live performances, the young Jackson became exposed to adult behaviors, which also affected him emotionally (Strasburger et al., 2013). He grew up not liking to be associated with women. As a result, later in the 1990s, he was accused of pervasive relations with small boys.
In the early 1980s, Jackson started to undergo plastic surgeries to change his appearance. He hated his black melanin. In this quest to have his skin and demeanor changed, he had to undergo several plastic surgeries. Probably, he performed surgeries to correct his looks to make him feel comfortable.
Jackson also suffered from an eating disorder in which he was not able to eat. His body is frail. He was obsessed with the small body to maintain his dancing moves. His eating disorder is likely to have been contributed by emotional stress he was suffering from as well as psychological battles in his mind that he needed to come into terms with. He also became addicted to prescription drugs may be due to emotional distress and pains inflicted throughout his life. The drugs were mainly to earn him some sleep because it was difficult for him to sleep at night. Consequently, Jackson turned to medication and other substance abuse which also took a toll on his body and health
A cultural formulation of Jackson under the DSM V criteria involves giving information about the cultural background of the patient. It consists of knowing the cultural and social identity of the patient, explanation of the illness through the culture, the element of culture in relationships with the clinician and the patient, and more.
Michael Jackson believed in his music. His love for music as his culture emanated from his father Joe who was strict in making his music accomplishments together with other Jacksons. He was famous for his style of pop music, which recolonized how people viewed black civilization. At that time, he was referred to as the king of pop because a lot was transformed by him making him the epitome of pop culture (Swedien, 2009). The music culture and dancing moves infused by him have continued to immortalize him in pop culture.
He was not a religious man at any period in his life according to his bibliography. His mother was a staunch Jehovah’s Witness Christian believer. Jackson started making money through music at an early age, which made him leave his father’s house when he was still a young boy. Because him being young and naïve, Jackson was introduced to adulthood behavior like nudity and sexuality.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
A person with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) thinks about their perceived or real flaws in their appearance. The negative thought of their looks becomes uncontrollable, and even if everyone tells them that they look beautiful, they cannot believe it. The person is always preoccupied with mirror checking and reassurance seeking or mental acts like comparing his/her look with that of others and trying to point out or prove his/her real or perceived flawed appearance. The thought of being ugly or having facial or body flaws bring about severe emotional distress, which interferes with the person’s daily life. However, the BDD is not explained using the case of fat and weight accumulation due to an eating disorder.
Because of delusional beliefs, the individual becomes entirely convinced that BDD beliefs are true.
Review of Michael Jackson Pointer to BDD
Michael Jackson once said, ‘I try not to look into the mirror. I’m not happy with what I see.’ Jackson also became well known for his series of plastic surgeries, which aimed at correcting his perceived flawed look. Most are the times he denied plastic surgery and termed it necessary because he was suffering from vitiligo (Hombach, 2012). He relied on the medical cover-up to hide his appearance disorder because at an early age in the 1980s, he had begun bleaching his skin before major surgeries, which changed his skin melanin to white.
Furthermore, his perceived appearance may have come from his childhood (Gottlieb, 2004). He grew up with acute facial acne. His father always referred to him as ugly repeatedly to the extent he grew that perception of being ugly. He could not even look in the mirror to be ashamed of his look. Jackson was also born a perfectionist, which contributed much to his music career, but it became destructive when he tried to change his looks through multiple surgeries to shape his face eating disorder to maintain his figure and body size for dancing. His repeated operations lead to his face being mocked thus completing the circle of his BDD.
Socially, a person suffering from BDD tends to withdraw from public life. Therefore, they live an isolated life to reduce the pressure mounted by people having to review their appearance. An adult also tries to avoid displaying the face in any way possible. In the context of Jackson, considering his latest music productions, most of them were propagating the invisible ideal and mostly covered his face with a mask or black hat (King, 2010).
Michael was never diagnosed nor treated for BDD. He was diagnosed with hypochondriasis, but this was a clear misdiagnosis from the psychological perspective. His history and behavioral factors were consistent with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. If he could have been diagnosed correctly, Jackson could have sought therapy medication for BDD and perhaps revert some of his addictions and behavior, which was detrimental to his life.