Mattress Mac's daughter helping OCD sufferers

October 14, 2011 4:54:42 PM PDT
The daughter of Houston's Jim McIngvale, aka Mattress Mac, has suffered with obsessive compulsive disorder for years. She's struggled with excessive hand washing, taking a certain number of steps and fearing contamination from touching faucets and light switches.

Seven years ago, she shared her story with us. Now, she has a new treatment program to help others.

Liz McIngvale used to wash her hands seven times. She'd turn off the faucet or turn on a light with her foot to keep her hands from being contaminated. She would only wear certain colors because others were contaminated. Liz had a ritual for everything.

"I think especially in the Houston area, it was so interesting for so many people to say wow even someone like Mac's daughter can have OCD," she said.

When we first met Liz at 17, her obsessive compulsive disorder controlled her life. But not today.

"I think back then my OCD controlled every aspect of my life, from getting up in the morning, getting ready, to relationships, school, family, everything and now I'm finally myself again. I've regained that life that I'd kind of lost, that my OCD had taken away," she said.

"It was survival day by day," Jim McIngvale said.

Her parents, Jim and Linda McIngvale, remember how hard it was for Liz.

"We're just, knock on wood, thrilled at how well she is and she's a great example to other people who have serious mental illnesses that you can get better," Jim said.

In the past seven years, Liz became a licensed therapist, and is almost finished with her PhD in social work at the University of Houston. And now she is in control of the OCD rituals that used to control her.

"Getting your food out of the fridge that everybody touches the fridge, and little things like that are constant triggers that you have to push through and say no I'm not going to let my OCD get the best of me," Liz said.

But it's taken seven years of therapy. To help others with OCD, Liz created a self-help interactive website called ocdchallenge.com.

"This can be something that becomes affordable to everyone, because not everyone can afford therapy so it becomes a wider audience that can be treated," said Dr. Patrick Bordnick, a UH professor and Liz's faculty advisor.

Her father believes Liz's work on OCD Challenge for others was important to her own recovery.

"She'll be the only doctor in the family. Like I said earlier, she runs the show anyway so I might as well call her doctor," Jim said.

He laughs, but Jim McIngvale is very proud of the daughter whose journey has been so much harder than others.

For more information on obsessive compulsive disorder, visit Liz's self help website.


Load Comments