So, here is what I have come up with. If you want the gory details - insomuch as I choose to reveal them - keep reading after "READ MORE BELOW" at the bottom of this post. If you don't, don't, and be happy with what follows. (For some reason, Blogger wouldn't let me insert a "jump break," which would be the logical way to handle this.)
The short version is that I have been having some rather serious health problems - a variety, in fact - since early January. Serious enough, in fact, that I have been on medical leave from work since February 11. Because of the nature of those problems, I have not felt inclined to use the computer at all, let alone blog or use social media. Plus my mom's voice echoes in my head, "If you're too sick to work you're too sick to Facebook." This is, in fact, the first thing I've posted here or on Facebook or Twitter since February 11 (I think - close enough). Why? Read on . . . .
My current status is that I am orchestrating a partial return to work the second week of April and we'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I may or may not be active on The Daily Beat, Facebook, and Twitter. It depends on how I feel and if I have something to say.
So there's the nutshell version answering your kind inquiries, each one of which I truly appreciated and please accept my apologies for not answering them all personally. This will have to do unless you're willing to "READ MORE BELOW . . . ."
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Okay. You've decided you want more information. If you are to believe the medical community, I am tunneling my way out of a Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode. If you want the sterile definition, you can click here for the DSM details. If you don't want to wade through the DSM, you can click here for some fairly coherent information from WebMD. Or, you can get William Stryon's book, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, and truly understand.
I offer these resources because I, like I imagine many others, see the depression drug commercials on TV and think to myself, "Just get up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other, and get on with it." Were it so simple. Depression is serious shit. It can be completely debilitating and it's difficult to treat. I harken back to when my brother died of AIDS at age 47 and Mom asked me what we should tell people he died from. "AIDS!" I exclaimed. "We need to put a human face on this horrible disease!" (This was in 1996.) Likewise, depression can hit anyone. And hard.
I won't bore you with my symptoms because I had (have?) all eight on the WebMD list to one degree or another. I'm not looking for sympathy, but I think it's important to share this information sort of as a "public service announcement." Call it penance for my long holding a superficial and stereotypical view of depression. If you have it, or know someone who does, you know whence I speak. If not, please do some reading and take my word for it: it's a life-and-death struggle. I don't say that lightly. Life-and-death, both figuratively and literally.
I mentioned a "variety" of health issues above, and don't want to leave that hanging out there like a big matzo ball. I had what I thought was the flu in early January - felt like crap the whole San Francisco trip - lost my appetite and never got it back until about 2 weeks ago, had all sorts of digestive issues, fatigued, general malaise, lost about 25-30 pounds (over 10% of my body mass), etc.
It would seem now, at least that's the theory my GP and I have, that most of my physical symptoms were depression-related. That is, psychological issues were causing real physiological pathology.
Oh, I left out the contributing factors. Let's just say it was mostly work-related (stress) but also related to some health issues, not the least of which is my hand difficulties preventing me from fully expressing my musicianhood for the past year(s).
More details (e.g., treatment)? Not right now. I am pondering the utility of putting more in writing. Let's just say as a possible teaser that I now have an intimate and experiential appreciation of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. And some of Jack Kerouac's experiences in the Navy.
I think I'm on the path out of darkness, but it's a long road, and hard. I know you wish me luck.