Sorry for the massive delay - to those who've asked and have been wondering how things have turned out. My "career life" took some massive twists and turns over the past two years - which I couldn't quite explain in terms of what happened with the burnout, so I didn't have anything coherent to say here. I still don't really, but I'll take a stab at it anyway...
I had an epiphany during late 2011 that maybe one of the reasons I burned out with programming was that I'm generally better at analysis than "synthesis". And I definitely am. My brain simply functions better in the direction of analysing something that's already there, rather than building something up. Programming requires both of course, but since I lack patience with synthesis, I started looking into more purely-analysis-based work, such as QA.
After a few months of no success finding such work, I went on a totally different tangent - I found a job as a kitchen assistant and then considered becoming a chef, of all things. A big part of me thought that I needed to get away from office work altogether, to truly leave behind what happened during my burnout years. This led to further explorations of more "hands-on" type occupations. I don't have too much to show for this now, except for a truck license, forklift license, and a construction site OHS qualification. But it's been an interesting experience. And who knows when those qualifications might come in handy. Life is a funny thing that way.
But anyhow, long story short, I'm back into looking at getting into some more analysis-based IT work now. I went out and got the ISEB-ISTQB certificate in Software Testing, and have started looking for whatever kind of QA work I can find. I don't expect it to be easy to get, but at the moment it seems like the best option.
I guess the reason why I had nothing special to say on this blog for all this time is that the direction I took isn't so much related to my burning out, as much as to identifying a personal interest and talent which takes me away from programming and into another specialisation. If that hadn't happened, I'd probably be back into programming by now, and loving it.
In other words: I don't think there is much of a generalised lesson to be learned here. Except maybe that sometimes burnout may be partly caused by a real issue of subtly not being a good fit for a particular line of work. But it's a sliding scale, so I don't want to generalise this too much and put people off. If things were only slightly differently aligned in my head, the break would have worked, and about 6 months off would have been all it took.