blogging, Mental Health

Sinking to New Depths

You know it is wretched when I’m contemplating painting my toenails.


Being retired, painting my nails is a task that holds little importance. A very low priority. Especially given it’s winter! Those unpainted keratinous coverings are well and truly hidden in the comfy warmth of deep, fluffy socks for another month or two.

Photo by cottonbro on

By the way, don’t you just love the featherlike, downy feeling of putting on new socks? Sinking your tootsies into that bouncy, cushioned puffiness. It is a panacea for tired, aching feet. Yet after a few washes in the laundry, the socks become more like – meh! What’s the fuss? It is all about perspective, yeah? But until then, it is bliss.

I digress.

Why am I thinking about painting my toenails?

I really don’t know. It is a totally mindless waste of time.

Although there is one reason:

My apparent decline into a vortex of mental enfeeblement that happens in Covid-imposed isolation, having tested positive on a rapid antigen test.

Yeah – after two years, Corona has finally ensnared me in its dirty little grip. Testing positive, in Australia, means isolating yourself from all others, for seven days in your home.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

I admit to feeling scared, at first. Not about isolating, itself, but of the potential complications of the disease, as I am in a vulnerable cohort. Then I thought of the bonuses isolation might bring me:

– I planned to catch up on all my writing and reading tasks, undisturbed by the distractions of life. Especially reading. I don’t seem to get enough time to do that anymore. Trying to read when I retire for the evening invariably leads to me falling asleep way too soon, book in hand, two pages in…Zzzz.

Essentials or Wants?

After the initial shock of getting the diagnosis, I closed myself off in a contained space.

I do have everything I need. A bookshelf full of books, a laptop, a wardrobe chair-drobe for clothes, a TV, comfy lounge that doubles as a bed, a bathroom, water, nibblies and a lovely balcony to get daily doses of Vitamin D – said to be essential for recovery. The internet provides contact with the outside world and if that is absent, I still have my books. What more does a person FUNDAMENTALLY need? Still, it’s quite the change from my slightly sprawling home by the sea and and small yard, with a lake and beach walks nearby. So…..

When push comes to shove, [and Corona is a global shove], what essentials could I, or will I, do without? I really don’t NEED a lot. Extraverts would no doubt disagree, but we all want or aspire to have loads of material things, but don’t really NEED much more than the basics to sustain life.

And here I am contemplating my toenails.

Which brings me to the point of this post. [It does get there].


Effects of Imposed Isolation on Refugee Populations.

It took almost five years for a family who had happily settled in regional Queensland, Australia, to be released from immigration detention after being removed from their country town, when their visa expired. The parents and two small children were placed in an offshore facility, much like a prison. Their children spent their early childhood years in detention at a ridiculous cost to the taxpayer. It could all have been changed with a signature.

The family wanted to make Australia their home. The town of Biloela campaigned endlessly to free the family from detention and return to Biloela. Australians wanted them to stay so much it became an election issue in 2022!

How on earth could any politician think keeping children in detention was making the world a better place?

Bosnian Immigration to Australia

In the aftermath of the Bosnian war, a refugee family was raising their young boy within the confines of a refugee camp in Denmark. At that time, the Danish authorities did not permit the refugees to work. They were stuck, without a future. Sitting around with nothing to do easily destroys the soul. The family’s child was growing up in an environment, unlike any other home.

Unhappy, the family started applying for any country who might accept them as immigrants. Australia was the first to open its doors and that little boy grew up to become my son’s friend at school. The family had settled thousands of miles from any other family member, but they valued their new life. In time, they found work, careers and purchased a house of their own. Their children, now grown, have careers and more importantly, a future. They have contributed to our community, to our economy and they have become Bosnian-Australians!

This is the Australia to be proud of! One that is welcoming of families.

Refugees that await bureaucratic decisions upon which their future is utterly dependent are stuck. And if being stuck in the comforts of my own home are to send me a little bit ga-ga, after a few days, then it is little wonder that inmates in detention facilities, of all kinds, tend to struggle and self-harm.

Self-harm rates for asylum seekers in all types of closed immigration detention were many times higher than rates found in the general population. Average rates were not lower in facilities with lower security features.

There is no known treatment for self-harm, other than releasing the sufferer from detention!

I have decided not to paint my toenails.

I have a freedom day ahead of me.

Many others do not.

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