HOUSTON- Mattress Mack is a beloved Houston businessman, now his daughter is opening up about a devastating illness that is often misunderstood.
The illness is called Obsessive Compulsive Disease or OCD.
Elizabeth McIngvale has been dealing with the illness since the 7th grade.
"There's no part of OCD that is fulfilling or gratifying to us," said Mcingvale. "The general perception the public is that these tendencies and these personality things become quirky and cute.
McIngvale said there was nothing cute about her disease and it's something that nearly killed her.
"I woke up every day hoping it was my last and was very suicidal at the time," she added. "I didn't understand why I wanted to be alive. The pain was just too much."
Doctors diagnosed her when she was just 13 years old and for years, she couldn't get help.
"As it progressed, except the few hours which I was sleeping which was very few, I was ritualizing and obsessing all day long," McIngvale said.
Even though she battles it to this day, she now gets help through a special type of therapy, called cognitive behavioral therapy or "exposure based" therapy when patients face their fears multiple times to become more comfortable with them.
"Patients with OCD outside their OCD symptoms are perfectly normal," said Wayne Goodman, who works in the Menninger department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine. "As long as it doesn't involve the things that trigger their obsessive compulsions they're just like everybody else."
Goodman spoke on an OCD Awareness panel this week with McIngvale this week. He stressed that OCD is not an addiction.
"It needs to be taken seriously," Goodman said. "Some of these people have an illness that's as serious as cancer certainly as serious as schizophrenia."
Goodman helped start the International OCD Foundation 30 years ago that's been helping patients and professionals ever since.
Experts say about half a million children in the US are currently battling the disease.
"When I was sick it didn't seem like there was hope or help," McIngvale added.
She's not only speaking out about OCD but she's made it a career. She has her Ph.D. and now she's an assistant professor at Baylor's school of social work.
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