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Elizabeth McIngvale: Overcoming OCD Through Creativity

Monday, 23 Jun 2008 | 8:07 PM ET

At the age of thirteen I was diagnosed with a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I lost hope, courage and the will to live. I knew however that something had to change, that I had to take a risk and I had to finally be creative. My brother, James founder and president of

Oinkartltd.com was always creative and artistic growing up. From his designs to paintings I felt I had no room to compete. My sister, Laura shows her creative edge in innovative ideas, projects and her love and passion for photography and art. I thought of myself as someone lacking completely in the department of creativeness. But I knew something had to change…

In Feburary of 2002 I was admitted into the Menninger clinic, an inpatient treatment center for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I learned that I had to be creative not only to find who I truly was, but to live and to survive. I decided to not let stereotypes and the public eye intimidate me enough to not take the risks that I needed to take. My Dad always told me that I was “gutsy”. This word alone pushed me to look within myself and to find a way to turn a negative situation into a positive one. I had to use my “guts” and my will power to take a risk to be open about my life and my struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Since taking the creative step to truly go public about my illness, doors and opportunities have now opened that previously would have stayed shut. I became the national spokesperson for the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation. Founded my own non-profit organization, The Peace of Mind Foundation; Peaceofmind.com, and I launched the largest support group in the nation which is held in Houston, Texas and have also recently started a group in Chicago, IL. Know and remember that hitting rock bottom or reaching the point of survival isn’t a necessity in order to find your creative edge. People like Marc Ecko and myself spoke today about the need for creativity in order to survive. Our experiences are simply examples to help others grow. I started the work that I did so that others don’t ever have to reach that level and so that I can find a way to possibly help them get on their feet, use their passion and reach their own personal goals. No matter how tough life may get and where the roads may lead, always know that everyone is creative within themselves, you just have to look and find your own personal creative edge.

Elizabeth McIngvale
Email: peaceofmind.com@hotmail.com
www.ocfoundation.org
www.peaceofmind.com