I Am Dust

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Kelly liked to say that living with bipolar affective disorder is baaaaad, like a mountain goat.

And it’s isolating. And scary. And no one talks about it.

But Kelly Asselin was brave. A loving mother and a compassionate nurse, she wanted to break the silence, so that others might better understand the bipolar experience.

I Am Dust is her story, told in her own words, through the journals she left behind.

Euphoric and haunting, her search for meaning and passion and peace in a world gone wrong sheds light on the shadows of mental illness. Courageously honest, we join Kelly in her breathtaking mania, heart wrenching depression and unending struggle to find balance between her poles.

It’s also incredibly personal. Kelly is my mother.

It really started when I was 18 years old, on the day I had to carry Kelly out of our home and put her into a police car that took her to the hospital. She’d locked herself in her room, chanting and banging her head against the wall.

And even though the diagnosis was clear, there was no clarity on what we should do. Doctors, police, friends, and family—nobody knew how to manage the situation.

Another day, I sat at a travel agent’s desk, pleading that they not sell my mom a one-way ticket to the middle east. Kelly was clearly manic and not in a good place to travel alone — yet nobody could or would do anything — she got her ticket and got onto a plane to a place she would later be imprisoned and institutionalized.

The last time I spoke with her, we made plans to start filming. But, a few hours later, she called back and said she wasn’t up to it right then. Next time, she told me.

We didn’t get a next time. She died of the depressive side of bipolar.

And I was left to share her story. To help the world understand her experience. To break the silence.

I Am Dust honors her wishes.

Directed by Patrick Moreau (Canada)

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