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I See You - debut single aims to get fibromyalgia into the charts

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I See You is the debut single by Dayton Grey.  The song and video were inspired by Dayton’s relationship with his partner Nicki, who has fibromyalgia – and both feature in the video.   The single is released on 16th September with a launch party in Wednesbury that night.  If you are in the area – why not pop along and support the event.   Dayton has 250 signed CD copies for sale, and £1.00 from each CD will go to FMA UK.   Click HERE to watch the video (please note telephone number at end should read 0300 999 3333).  For enquiries about pre-ordering the single Dayton can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Many thanks to Dayton & Nicki for sharing their story with us, and for promoting fibromyalgia awareness through the single.  

 

 

From the age of about 7, I was playing piano at the occasional recital in Church. I then began playing drums from the age of 15. I come from a very musical family, my Aunties sang like angels, my Uncle was a keyboardist and MD for my Aunties band. My Uncle was also a music producer. There were times that my Uncle asked me to play drums for the choir at various locations. I really got the ‘buzz’ for gigging then! I loved the way music made me feel when I heard and played. And I loved seeing how it could change peoples lives. 

I began singing in choirs when I was 17/18, and realised then I had a gift. I was passionate about it, and could really express myself as I was pretty quiet and shy. I dreamt of making it as a singer, seeing myself on big stages with a huge audience… but felt that was out of reach. 

l went on to singing as part of the Worship team at age 22/23. But, unfortunately, I had no confidence to take it up professionally. Life carried on, and I got married. Over the next 5 years, I became a Father to 2 beautiful Sons. I needed a stable income to provide for my family, therefore the dream of becoming a singer stayed just that. A dream. This was the situation for the next few years.

Nicki and I began working together when she was in full health in 2009. She was bubbly and full of life - always smiling. We became best friends, and saw each other through some really difficult times. In 2012, following the breakdown of both of our marriages, we started house sharing. It made sense, renting somewhere together close to where we worked would halve our individual outgoings, give us each chance to get back on our feet. We didn’t see what many others in our lives had seen coming for a while! Our friendship deepened over time and we began our relationship. It was such a natural progression, and we already knew each other inside out. We loved one another’s children as our own. We were a solid unit. For the 1st time in my life, I felt I could really be ‘me’, with all my flaws. And Nicki felt the same. The future was all of a sudden really exciting… and something we were all really looking forward to.

I used to sing around the house all the time, to the kids, when hoovering or washing up... and Nicki loved my voice. She kept pushing me to do something with my talent. But I was still shy, lacking confidence and didn't believe in myself enough to do it. So she bought me a PA system as a surprise!! When it arrived, I panicked about the cost - and Nicki made it clear that I literally needed to go out and sing for the money to pay it off! It was just the push I needed. 

To cut a long story short, we knew one of our friends, Helen Hale, was a great singer - she only ever sang at karaoke, not professionally. We decided that we would try and do this together as a duo - we called ourselves ‘Domino’. From our 1st gig as ‘Domino’, our diary quickly filled up. Everyone was excited about the new duo on the circuit and we were overwhelmed by the response! Within a year, I began getting requests for solo bookings as well as duo gigs, as there was call for me to do a Soul & Motown Show, to which my voice was really suited. 

Nicki suggested that I give up my day job, and she support us financially whilst I concentrated on building my career as a singer. I was reluctant at first, but soon saw it as a great idea. I was struggling to hold down a full time day job AND do 3 gigs a week. I was always exhausted. And we worked well together as a team - Nicki doing all of the admin, promotion and negotiations/bookings - and me performing. 

We lived together, worked together, planned together, raised children together... and never argued. My singing career took off very quickly, and every day, our relationship grew deeper and stronger.

Then in November 2012, Nicki had a fall. A fall that unbeknown to us at that time, would change our lives forever. 

She had physio for her knee and ankle injuries, but soon began to complain of aches and pains that were nowhere near the injury site. She became forgetful, clumsy, miserable, withdrawn and exhausted by the smallest of tasks - a far cry from the organised, energetic, ambitious, passionate and ‘smiley’ Nicki I had fallen in love with! The physiotherapist said her pain was too complex for her to treat, and she needed to see her GP.

She went to the Dr's, but was made to feel like a hypochondriac. I accompanied her on many occasions, and it was so frustrating! At this point it was affecting Nicki's work and she was taking more and more time off - despite just being given a specialist role that she was really enjoyed and was good at. She was making mistakes, as the pain and fatigue affected her concentration. 

She fought on, but I knew that giving up my job was now something that just couldn't happen. There was something seriously wrong with Nicki. I was concerned, everyone round us saw the changes and were also concerned about her rapidly deteriorating health. But the Dr's were just not interested. 

Eventually, a GP DID listen… and referred her to a rheumatologist. By this time, she needed crutches to walk short distances and was considering a wheelchair for longer distances. Walking on crutches exhausted her, and set off her asthma. But she had no balance to walk unaided, and had numerous falls/injuries due to being stubborn and trying! 

At this appointment with the rheumatologist, 15 months after her fall, she was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia - scoring 18/18 on the tender point test. The condition was explained to us and the specialist told us that they have no cure, nor do they have a treatment that would make her better. So basically, ‘read the leaflet we have given to you, learn how to pace, and ask GP about pain relief’. 

We were discharged back into the care of her GP - for management of a condition (we would find) he did not believe existed.

It was a strange day. An overwhelming mix of emotions. This young woman who had just 15 months ago been so active, had a love of horse-riding and gymnastics (at 1 stage in her younger years, had been a competitive gymnast), had been a long distance and cross country runner, and still went for a run before work, did boxercise classes and pilates… in a matter of months, she had found herself walking aided by crutches, hunched over like a woman 3 times her age, always exhausted and in pain. No explanation as to why, no medicine to take away her pain, and no cure. This was forever.

I can only describe the coming weeks and months to be a hazy time of 'grieving'. 

Gone was the fun, tactile and energetic relationship we had once known.
Gone were the plans we had made due to her physical limitations.
Gone was her career.
Gone was our dream of Nicki being the one to hold things together financially, whilst I chased my music dream.
Gone was our communication.
Gone was the Nicki I had fallen in love with.

I went into 'Man' mode, I felt I had to be the one to fix this' problem'. But Fibromyalgia cannot be fixed - and I fought that by making sure everything else that was practical, was taken care of.   I went to work. I paid the bills. I cooked. I cleaned. I made sure Nicki had her medication. That she was bathed and assisted with dressing. I helped her up and down the crazy staircase we had in our house at the time, helped her down the 15 steps outside our house into the car for medical appointments (as that was the only time she left the house)... and I quickly became 'desensitized' to her obvious struggle with everything ‘simple’ - the things that we healthy people take for granted.

I couldn't look at her. For no other reason than the fact it absolutely broke my heart to see the woman I love in this amount of pain, and be helpless to do anything about it. I was angry. For her, for us, for me... But I couldn't afford to let it get under my skin as Nicki needed to be taken care of. I didn't realise at this point, that I was making her pain far worse. In fact, I was CAUSING her the worst pain.

I was breaking her heart.

Whilst making sure all the practical things were dealt with, I had taken the role of Nicki's carer. She didn't want a carer! She wanted me, her best friend, soul-mate, lover, life partner. She wanted to be reminded of who she was to me. She wanted reassurance that I could see past Fibromyalgia - and still see Nicki. That she wasn't defined by her condition. That the fact that she had gained weight due to being immobile had not bothered me, I still thought she was beautiful. That no matter how much this condition had changed our lives, this was still the life I CHOSE. A life with Nicki. That it was ok that Fibromyalgia was now part of the package. I could handle it. 

And my every waking day, I would choose her - and this new life - again. In a heartbeat.

But I missed that. And I carried on with all the practicalities. 

We began arguing. Something we had never really done before. But I felt nothing. I thought I just had to keep going on autopilot and not allow myself to feel, so I could take care of her practically. We grew more and more distant, until one day an argument escalated - and we both broke down in tears. We were honest with our feelings and spoke about Fibromyalgia (properly) for the first time in over a year. We shared our fears, frustrations, anger... and nicknamed Fibromyalgia  'Fibro my oucha!'. We agreed that when it was getting us down, we would speak of it as though it was a 3rd person, rather than Nicki feel that when I was angry, I was angry at HER because SHE had Fibro. I apologised for letting her down so badly when she needed me the most, but reassured her the reason for this breakdown had been my pain at seeing her suffering. NOT because I was no longer in love with her. I very much was. I just needed to allow myself to feel it, and learn to cope with seeing her suffering.

Skip to present day! We are stronger than ever. I am proud of how she manages her condition, even though it gets her down so much, and still manages to support and encourage me to live my dream. She is proud of my success with music. Fibromyalgia is a journey we are on together, as is my music. And that is how ‘I See You’ came to be. After the argument we had that cleared the air, I realised how I had let her down. And I wanted to express that to her in the best way I know how - through song. 

Just after writing the song, I took part in a competition for Negart Records, Brand New Artist 2015. There were entrants from all over the UK, and I was a finalist. They encouraged me to enter their next competition. I did this, and in June 2016, I won! Now the song that I wrote about our struggle with Fibromyalgia, will be released as a single on 16th September 2016. If it sells 2000 units in the 1st week of release, it will make it into the charts! That would be a great accomplishment for not only me personally, but for the Fibromyalgia community as a whole. 

More awareness needs to be raised about this awful, life-changing condition. And I am hoping that the words will resonate with people who have felt helpless to do anything to support their loved ones, partners who can identify with the relationship difficulties it can cause (if we allow it to!) and Fibro Warriors themselves - who perhaps do not know how much this affects their partners. 

I think the key to a relationship surviving Fibromyalgia - or any other chronic pain condition or invisible illness - is communication. Never forget WHY you fell in love in the first place, never see your partner AS their condition, and never feel that it means your relationship is over. It’s just different. And as a result, on a daily basis, we find more joy in the things that regular couples take for granted. I now see that as a blessing.

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