Stories from the Field: The Long Dark Teatime of the Ovaries

There are days when Yvonne rages.

She actively seeks out reasons to violently ram her cheap but quickly-moving vehicle into a slower-moving vehicle. She imagines the rush of *finally* breaking free of societal restrictions, of letting her emotions burst forth from the corset of the anal-retentive bourgeoisie, and of teaching that stupid, brake-happy, distractedly-driven, performance vehicle driver a well-earned lesson. RRRAAAWWWWRRRR!

After the veil of red disappears, Yvonne then sinks into a despair the depths of which she’s never known (and Yvonne has seen some depths). “Why can’t we all just get along?” she’ll whimper from a fetal position on her sofa. “The human race won’t survive anyway, so why bother?”  And she’ll begin to ‘set her affairs in order’.

Then Yvonne will pick up a romance novel and become so lust-driven that she’ll ponder opening a Tinder account, or who to ask for advice on how to approach someone about becoming a ‘friend with benefits’.

This is a typical day. Hell, sometimes it’s a typical hour.


It’s PMS to the 10th power, but without the bloating and cramping caused by ovaries proclaiming their love of life. No. This is a very clear statement that Yvonne’s ovaries are packing it in.

Yvonne has been bitch-slapped by perimenopause.

Either she wants to beat the shit out of someone or fuck them senseless. She has a whole new appreciation for the plight of teenage boys.

(Aside: to ensure we are speaking the same language, menopause is a ‘pause’ or stop in menses or menstruation. To be experiencing the dying throws of fertility is to be perimenopausal or ‘around’ menopausal. Yvonne has heard the term ‘post-menopausal’ and has even used it herself, albeit erroneously. However, to be ‘post-menopausal’ would be ‘after the stop of menses’. As a woman can live happily for decades within the ‘pause of her menses’, post-menopause would mean a woman was past this ‘pause in her menses’ or dead. Yvonne has chosen to think of perimenopause as a transition rather than a death.)

Yvonne is still young. She’s only 45. However, she has been fairly certain this ‘condition’ has been growing over the past couple of years. She didn’t have the more common and visible symptoms: hot flashes, weight gain, hair loss. Her symptoms were more subtle: night sweats, fatigue, changes in her migraines. The symptoms could also be easily attributed to other causes, like detoxing and stress.

When she broached the subject to her doctor, he said, “Ancedotally, I’ve noticed that those who begin perimenopause younger have more issues with neuroses.”

“Great! I’m going crazy,” Yvonne exclaimed. Famous last words.

Now Yvonne fears that her hormones, or lack thereof, may, indeed, be driving her to acts of craziness. She has witnessed herself behaving in strange ways: seeing the raging Yvonne, seeing the lust rise up and make her reach out a hand to the unfamiliar man next to her, seeing the despair and wondering ‘what the hell is going on?’ These acts are not ‘Yvonne’. They are out of character. Perhaps Yvonne is a witch and she has been possessed of the Devil. (Perimenopause may be the true root of the witch hunts of old.) These hormonal twitches are overriding her character. A character, she might add, she’s finally coming to appreciate and love. Yvonne is quite perfectly Yvonne….except when her hormones twitch out.

Of course, none of this is optimal timing. The stress of her dad’s death in August 2018 and the subsequent stress of being an executor have only increased the likelihood that she would tear off someone’s head or attempt to inhabit her electric blanket on a permanent basis. This is what her doctor has cited as a ‘perfect storm’. And like any perfect storm, there is no control over it: you batten down the hatches, ride it out, and know there will be a certain amount of damage to clean up afterwards.

Yvonne isn’t looking forward to the damage. It could be very ugly. And nothing Dr. Christiane Northrup has published prepared her for this.

So, as of today, Yvonne is considering signing up for some damage control: hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Or, at least, hormone-let-me-down-easy therapy. She is fully aware (and will happily beat on someone’s head to demonstrate) that perimenopause, and the resulting menopause, isn’t a medical condition. It’s a life change that every woman will go through. How one goes through it, however, can be a choice. Yvonne admits that she needs some help. Likely her supervisor (if her supervisor really knew what was going on) would also admit that Yvonne needs some help. Yvonne would like her fertility to go gently into that long dark night rather than lingering over tea whilst inflicting as much damage as possible. And if HRT can lend a degree of grace, Yvonne wants in.

Upon reflection, Yvonne now wonders why there is no HRT for teenage boys.

Will Yvonne make it unscathed to her doctor’s appointment in February? Will Yvonne’s body adjust well to HRT? Will she have side-effects? Will those side-effects land her jail or an STD clinic? Or, will Yvonne decide to ride this storm and sign-up for online dating again?

Stay tuned!


The Wisdom of Menopause – Dr. Christiane Northrup
 Menopause in the Workplace – This girl is on fire

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