Status: I've gotten really into researching different personality disorders, and these two (Avoidant and Histrionic) sort of caught my eye



Sometimes it was a wonder how Jack Barakat and Alex Gaskarth were friends.

Jack had always been a decided outcast throughout high school. He wasn’t exactly afraid of people, but afraid of being rejected by them, only making friends with a couple of people, and then practically clinging to them for the rest of the years they went there. This, mixed with his low self esteem and high anxiety, made it not too big of a surprise when he was diagnosed with AvPD, or Avoidant Personality Disorder.

Jack hated being lonely. He hated being sad, he hated feeling inadequate and inferior. But at the same time, Jack had preferred to just hide away from society in his room where he could be left alone from the critical thoughts and judgments of the people around him; which really is strange considering that he’s now in a band, travelling around the world, constantly having his art scrutinized by critics everywhere.

And really, he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for his psychiatrist telling him that it would be good for him. “You’ll be able to break out of your shell. Becoming the center of attention might help cure your fear of society,” they told him. To be honest, it was beginning to work. When he was onstage, playing in front of people who loved him, he felt on top of the world. He’d forgotten about his anxiety and fears, because the people in the room loved him, and somehow he knew that.

But then he would have to walk out and talk to people who weren’t his fans when his social awkwardness and anxiety would return. He’d avoid talking to people until Rian or Zack would be around to help him out, and of course, once they’d really talked Jack would take a strong liking to the person if they got along.

Being the center of attention was beginning to work out for Jack. He was starting to lose the inferiority complex and fear of judgments and rejection. It was almost working.


Because there was this little problem that came in the form of his best friend.

Alex Gaskarth was addicted to the attention of others. He got angry and threw fits when no one was focused on him, going to great lengths to get people to notice. These things would be random bouts of energy in the forms of dancing, yelling, singing, and other obnoxious, dramatic acts. Sometimes they would be having questionable fashion choices to running around naked, and not to mention he was always changing his hair.

While he wasn’t diagnosed, his histrionic behavior was fairly obvious, not to mention the guy’s blatant narcissism. To many people, Alex came off as an asshole, while that really wasn’t the case. People didn’t understand his need to being the center of attention and that craving for the feeling of everyone’s eyes on him.

Unfortunately, this didn’t help Jack either. Because it ended up nearly becoming a competition to who could get more people to stare than the other, and Alex would always end up winning because Jack’s anxiety would return and he would hide back in the shadows.

And Alex’s narcissism didn’t help Jack’s inferiority complex either. The way that the guy would boast to everyone about his musical and lyrical talents. How proud he would get over his work that Jack barely contributed to. Jack wouldn’t be envious, but would rather berate himself for not being good enough and not being able to make as much of a difference to the band.

But Jack put up with it. In fact, everything had been getting better lately. Alex was keeping himself in check, and Jack was just happy sitting down in a room with his 3 best friends, making a record that he honestly had never been more excited about.

In fact, he took one of the biggest risks and jumps for attention that he’d done in a while.

“It sounds like a great idea,” his psychiatrist had told him when questioned. “This is a great way of taking risks and putting yourself out to people. I think you need a bit of change, Jack, at least a change of the way you look at yourself. And the way you start with that is by changing your appearance first.”

And so he walked into the studio the next day, almost cautiously with a sheepish look on his face, maybe a bit scared of the reactions of his friends.

“Whoa!” Rian had exclaimed on first look. “Bringing the skunk hair back, huh, dude?”

Jack laughed nervously. “Yeah, man. I kind of needed a change or something. It was getting boring staying the same. I’m keeping it for at least Warped tour, maybe longer if it goes over well.”

Rian nodded appreciatively. “It looks good, man. You should keep it.”

And of course, it had taken a bit for Alex to respond. Jack glanced over at him sitting on the couch anxiously. He noticed the slack jaw and eyes purposely looking somewhere else. When Alex finally looked over, Jack failed to hold back his cringe.

Alex forced a smile on his face. “It looks great, Jack. I kind of missed the skunk hair, too.”

Which was a blatant lie, and all three of them knew that. Alex was most obnoxious back when Jack had his skunk hair, annoying the shit out of all of his friends, but definitely entertaining their fans. Jack had eventually just completely gotten rid of the blonde once the guilt of the way Alex was acting finally got to him.

But for now, all had been going well. Certainly the fanbase had been going well, at least. Jack’s mentions had been blowing up every time he tweeted a picture that had his new hair in it, and he shamelessly basked in the compliments he was receiving. He laughed at the trending topics that had arisen, and took his time replying to his adoring fans.

His self esteem was beginning to rise again, but at the same time, Jack was waiting for Alex to drop the bomb. He’d strayed away from everyone, the fans, his band mates, his friends, during all of this attention Jack was getting. Jack knew that wasn’t a good thing. He knew that Alex was planning something crazy to do, and it regardless of whether it looked good or not, all of them were aware that it would be a stupid decision.

“Oh. My God.” Zack mused loudly, or at least loud for Zack to muse. “Alex, your hair.”

Alex let out a cringe-worthy obnoxious laugh. “Yeah, isn’t it great?”

Pink. His hair was fucking pink. Jack let out a shaky breath, already anticipating the shocked responses from fans that they would receive. Fuck, did Alex realize what he’s just beginning to cause? Everyone’s eyes in the room were already turned to Alex, much to his joy and Jack’s horror. Slowly, the shadows of the corner that Jack had been so used to hiding in came crawling up from behind as he felt himself slip into the background once more.

Rian’s mouth was agape as he stared at Alex’s abomination. “Don’t you think it’s a bit… obnoxious?” he questioned.

Alex shrugged his shoulders. “I dunno. I kind of needed a change.”

And that was an invisible punch to Jack’s stomach with the sudden realization that this was all his fault. Dammit, Jack, why did you have to go and dye your hair? Why did you have to set Alex off? Why can’t you ever do anything right? Why are you such a fuck up? Why aren’t you ever good enough?

And unknowingly, his fingernails were digging into his arms, dragging down painfully as he scratched into his skin, a habit that Jack had picked up long ago to deal with his anxiety. He bit his lip, wanting to look away from Alex and the monstrosity he’d caused, but he wouldn’t let himself do so. His breath shaky and angry red marks now apparent on his upper arms.

And then Alex had to look over. Jack watched as the intense guilt flash through his eyes. Alex never liked it when Jack did this to himself, though Jack never really understood why. He didn’t draw blood, so what was the problem?

Oh, but there was still the guilt that would haunt both sides of the pair. Alex beginning to hate himself for causing Jack such anxiety and Jack beginning to hate himself for causing Alex to hate himself. They really were both such head cases.

But the guilt was only the first step in the cycle.

“Jacky!” Alex cooed, flouncing over to his friend on the couch, wrapping his arms around his friend and pulling him into his lap. “You haven’t said anything! Am I that big of a freak?” Alex pouted, forcing a laugh out of Jack’s mouth.

“Yeah, you’re a freak.”

Alex practically shrieked, making a playful shove at his best friend.

Jack forced a laugh again. “But you’re my freak, you nut case,” he added with a wink, eliciting a huge grin from Alex as he ruffled his skunk hair affectionately.

That was the next step in the cycle. Affection. For the next few days, Alex and Jack would be ridiculously close, inseparable assholes that they normally would be. You would never see the two apart from each other, as every waking and sleeping moment was spent with the other. Their onstage presence was loud and goofy, and they played some of their best shows of the entire tour, and their offstage presence was completely ridiculous and happy-go-lucky.

But then that affection would shift a bit, going from playful shoves, high fives, hugs, to hand in hand, lips on head, lips on cheek, lips on lips, neck, collar bone, chest, hip bones, thighs. Lips hovering just over ears as naughty, unspeakable words escaped them. Hands pulling another hand into a back room where sweat-slicked skin would meet sweat-slicked skin, where backs would arch and fingers would knot themselves into hair or sheets; where dirty groans and desperate moans and needy whispers of the other’s name would escape mouths that had explored every part of the other’s skin. And then the bodies would rest together, chests rising and falling in unison as sleep engulfed both of them.

And then would come the next week, two weeks, month. Days spent away from each other. Days spent avoiding the other’s presence. Awkward conversations and coughs during long silences. Non-energetic shows that left both a disappointed crowd and a disappointed band. Days where both the singer’s and guitarist’s personality disorders were at maximum, as Alex acted like a head case and Jack sat behind, not talking to anyone that would come up to him.

Jack sat alone in his hotel room, lost in those thoughts, when his phone went off. Twitter. He picked it up to see a tweet from, speak of the devil, Alex himself. “@AlexAllTimeLow: Pink.”

Jack didn’t even have to open the link to know what it was. All he needed to see was the fans’ reactions as he scrolled through Alex’s mentions, each one a blow to his self esteem, regardless of whether it was good or bad.

“Oh my god.”


“omfg your perfect.”



“It’s amazing hahahahaha.”


And then going onto fansite after fansite, tumblr blog after tumblr blog, all that he could find were pictures of Alex. Of his new hair, of their reactions to his new hair, to just individual pictures of him in general, doing the stupid shit he would always do.

And Jack’s heart sunk into his stomach upon the realization that nothing he did would matter to anyone. He felt his hands shake as he couldn’t stop the self-degrading thoughts that plagued his mind. Worthless. Stupid. Unworthy. Dammit, why did he have to go and dye his hair in the first place? Why did he have to cause all of this bullshit all the time? He couldn’t stop asking himself these questions, they wouldn’t stop flooding his brain.

Jack sighed and went into his suitcase, glad that he’d brought the object along with him as he slipped into the bathroom and forced himself to look in the mirror, look at his fucking hair and every flaw of himself that always caused these problems.

He opened the box, pulling out the box of black hair dye, his natural color. He could already feel the guilty expression of Alex when he’d walk they’d see each other next. He smiled sadly, remembering promising to the fans that he’d keep the skunk hair for Warped, but he really couldn’t stand the tension that was going through the band right now.

Pulling on gloves and shaking the bottle, he lifted the hair dye up to his hair, ready to disappear into the back ground once again.
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