Erythema Ab Igne

I was just in the shower and realized that I have freckles on my arms. You think after 26 years I would’ve known this but perhaps it shows how much attention I pay to the cool things about my body. So I was thinking, okay, I like those, freckles are sexy. Or cute. Then I looked down and saw the burn marks on my stomach and can’t believe I haven’t noticed how bad they are now. God forbid summer should come too soon because those are not going to look sexy in a bikini.

So the marks on my stomach are from a hot water bottle. The marks also extend to my upper thighs. They’re this weird kind of darkened skin in circular lacy type patterns. Like such:
erythema ab igne


That’s not me by the way, the images are from Google.

Erythema ab igne. Yes, it has a name. So this is more common that I thought and seems it happens to people with chronic pain a lot. My IBS is a big factor, throw in a huge dash of emetophobia, some ovarian cysts, possible endometriosis and a history of self harming and voila the cocktail is created. I never thought of this as self harm until my doctor picked it up. Apparently my scalding hot showers and baths are also a form of ‘self harm’. I just thought, seeing as I am so cold all the time, the heat warms me up.

I used to be a cutter, from the age of about 14, till I was 24, it was my chosen form of release, but I promised myself I would stop and so far so good. I like to look at the gaping scars criss-crossed by tons of little ones to remind me how far I have come. Well, how far I’ve supposedly come. And I say gaping, but it’s really only two particularly ugly scars on my left wrist caused by a massive fallout with one of my boyfriends a few years back. I don’t even remember much of it, I was so consumed by emotion that I disassociated. So it’ll be two years in September since I last cut. I’m pretty proud of that. Won’t say the urge isn’t there when things get particularly heinous, but that’s when I use my elastic band coper (see my post on positive copers).

So yes, this EAI is caused by my hot water bottle addiction (yes, that’s a thing) and the only way to heal it, if it isn’t too late already, is to stop using said heat source. The interwebs says: ” If the area is only mildly affected with slight redness, the condition will resolve by itself over several months. If the condition is severe and the skin pigmented and atrophic, resolution is unlikely (Read more here).” oh goodie. I feel I should pat myself on the back and say, “well done you idiot.”

Funny thing is I am sitting in bed with a hot water bottle right now. I ate what feels like a ton today and so felt sick from guilt and decided a hot water bottle was a good choice. Aaah, ‘click’: I see the self harming in that. Eating = guilt = hot water bottle.

So on to the food aspect. I am pretty sure my hormones are wrecking havoc because I am craving chocolate and feel hungry most of the time. However not having a period since May makes it difficult to tell. I feel like the last three days have had me eating more than I ate in an entire week before and it’s killing me inside. I keep trying to replace the chocolate craving with hot chocolate or chocolate flavoured ensure s at least drinking it makes me feel less guilt ridden. Also I don’t sit down and have a decent meal because I feel like a pig, so then I end up snacking throughout the day which makes me feel even worse. Right now I feel sick but have that weird empty ‘hunger’ feeling. I’m not entirely sure if it’s hunger because I’ve become pretty bad at reading my body’s signals. I think perhaps I should eat but then the thought just makes me feel more sick. Perhaps I should take a look at what I ate today…
Breakfast: two small slices rye toast, one with marmalade and the other with Bovril and a thin slice cheddar. Rooibos tea, 1 sugar.
Snacks: 1 and 1/2 health crunchies,
Exercise: walk around mall 30 minutes
Snacks: vitamin water, one bite of a dried peach, chamomile tea
Lunch: 1 slice Woolworths rye bread, 1/2 cup butternut soup with tsp of chopped bacon, chamomile tea
Snacks: one dried peach, 2 handfuls of salted popcorn, one Lindt chocolate ball. Rooibos tea, 1 sugar
Exercise: walk 15 mins leisurely pace, 15 mins brisk pace. 1 1/2 hours yoga.
Supper: 1 cup soup (home made vegetable in chicken broth), 3/4 slice Woolworths rye bread
Snack: hot chocolate made with water

Bleugh. Stomach is burning now. Logically I know that isn’t a lot to a normal person. My Fitness Pal tells me that I’ve had about 1004 calories today, minus exercise and basic calories needed to just sit here and type and it tells me I have only eaten 382 calories today. Apparently my body needs around 1300 calories just to function if I were sleeping all day (my BMR) so even eating 1004 is a little. Okay, I think I have convinced myself that I have not eaten too much. Except that Ana still screams at me. Stupid cow.

Alright, this is a helluva long post, let’s end on a positive note. In the beginning I mentioned my freckles and said I don’t often notice the nice things about my body. So I challenge myself to find 5 things I like. One, two, three, go:

  1. My freckles
  2. My super long eyelashes
  3. My feminine hands (although a bit dry from constant hand washing)
  4. (Ok, thinking…) My lips
  5. ( just one more…) My hair

I did it 🙂 If you are reading this and have made it to the end, well done. Now I challenge you to find 5 things about your body that you like, and if you feel like it, post it in a comment.



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