Keith Emerson committed suicide on Thursday, March 10th. This is not something that many people can or will be able to understand. It’s impossible to know just how depressed he was over not being able to play the keyboards the way he used to. He was apparently dreading an upcoming Japanese tour. While I am sure those fans wouldn’t have minded him not being perfect (or even far from that), it does little to quell the demons that were inside.
As someone who has fought my own demons, I still cannot fathom that moment when death was a better option than living. We don’t have to understand it, but we need to be understanding of it. Mental health problems still come with such tremendous stigma and shame. As we age, depression is sure to contribute heavily to our already strained mental capacity. It doesn’t get better.
I’m sure many people think Keith had everything to live for. Love, wealth and even overall physical health. But we judge people based on what we know publicly of them. Keith Emerson was a musical genius and prog rock legend. Had he’d felt he was more than that to people, maybe it would have helped? I think it’s more likely that had he never been viewed as a musical genius, maybe that would have changed things.
Regardless of any of that, I really hope that his death opens more eyes to mental health issues, depression and anxiety. These are things that you just can’t WILL away. Posting simplistic “self-help” memes are not going to solve anything. This is a problem that can affect anyone.