“When I first started playing, I was just a depressed kid in Denmark. League of Legends was just an escape…”
To many of us, video games — and League of Legends, specifically — are an escape. Whether it be simply just to unwind from work, a search for an adventure, a desire for a challenge, or to forget about the hardships and pain from everyday life. From the lowest Iron IV player to the ‘One King,’ Bjergsen, this can be true.
And it is for me too.
Bjergsen’s retirement reawakened in me some nearly forgotten memories. I cried for six hours; I was useless at work for days. Bjergsen meant a lot to me, and he represents an entire period of pain and growth that I may not have survived without him. I know there are others like me, and for them, and for myself, I write this story.
I wholeheartedly believe that League of Legends and esports saved my life, and Bjergsen was and is at the very epicenter of that.
I discovered esports in my second year of college thanks to a couple of random roommates I got paired with. I was apathetic at first, because I knew nothing of the game — nor that esports even existed at all — but it quickly became a fun way to hang out with my new buds. I started learning the game over winter right before Season 4, just in time for Bjergsen’s arrival to TSM, my roommates’ favorite team.
Despite being a League novice, it was clear that Bjergsen was special and that his introduction to the team meant a lot. I decided he would be my favorite player. He was new, I was new, and he played for the team my roommates already liked, so it seemed fitting.
Beyond just my newfound joy in watching LoL Esports, however, I was going through the hardest period of my life. I lost multiple grandparents in quick succession, I felt more disconnected with my parents and sister than I ever had before, my best friend was in a deep depression that I couldn’t help with or even understand, and my girlfriend at the time was beginning to become extremely abusive — something I wouldn’t realize until much later.
League very quickly turned from a fun new activity to an almost necessary escape. I can’t say that it was healthy, necessarily, but I began to consume anything League and LCS related that I could on top of playing the game.
As the months trudged along, I began to more fully realize my depression, eventually culminating in near-daily thoughts of suicide. The sole distraction I found was watching and playing League with my friends. I followed Bjergsen and looked up to him as someone with a similar story, crafting a better life. I developed a real reason to consider Bjergsen my favorite player beyond his stylish gameplay. I felt connected to him through our childhood experiences and coping mechanisms. We were both skinny kids with trauma from abuse using a…
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