During consultations with asylum seeker and refugee men, women and children, I began to understand the psychological damage they suffer from not knowing their future. The indefinite time frame of their ‘processing’ on Nauru, now at five years, has created a deep uncertainty for these people. They exist in limbo, with limited control over their lives and no ability to make decisions about their future. Patients also spoke about the injustice of their situation. Most people have been recognised as refugees, yet while they have been told there are processes to resettlement, the criteria are unclear. People try to learn the ‘rules’ of the system, but the rules keep changing. They realise it is impossible to help themselves.