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Marissa O'Brien, Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist

Today, we honor Marissa O’Brien as a Pink Love Purveyor - someone who is committed to bringing a culture of love to the world during challenging times.

💕Hi, Marissa! Tell us a little bit about you.

I grew up with a single mother and a brother. My brother, David and I worked as professional actors until we went to college. I pursued a career in psychology and I currently work as an Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist for adults who have autism. I recently began working with WEPA (We Engage in Prevention Awareness) on social media management and psychological research on the influence of these platforms. We are a coalition that prevents substance misuse by creating sustainable healthy communities where youth and families thrive. Working with WEPA has allowed me to practice creativity and spiritual principles of service. Check us out on Instagram (@JubilantWEPA) and Facebook (Jubilant WEPA).

💕That’s amazing! Thank you for doing the work that you do. How have you been holding up during the present climate? What have you been doing for your own self-care?

I have many ups and downs. The ups last longer than the downs because of the activities I engage myself in. I begin my days with prayer, stretching, and meditation. Work keeps me busy throughout the workdays. To wind down, I will usually create something; personalized masks, quarantine buddies (take a look at the IG profile @quaran_kween), poetry, shirts. Last week I created an ecosystem and decorations of balanced rocks. I facetime with my boyfriend a lot and sometimes we create together! He draws, and we have been filling out a gratitude journal.

💕There is nothing like a morning ritual to kick start your day. People have no idea what a difference that can make. Also, keeping relationships thriving through the quarantine requires a certain amount of dedication. It is beautiful what you and your boyfriend have incorporated into your lives. What have you been doing within your community to help with their self or personal care?

I mentor a young woman. We have been working via zoom to grow together spiritually. I share with her my experiences and how I have learned from adversity. I am a part of a spiritual community that meets regularly to learn and practice fellowship. We have had a few zoom parties for younger members to have fun. Working with WEPA has given me the opportunity to connect with communities. I have interviewed parents of addicts and children of addicts. It makes me laugh when they thank me for the work I do because I think to myself: “It’s you who helped me.”

💕Reciprocity. It is often a give and take, which leads me to the next question: What inspired you to do the Work that you are doing within your community during this time or were you already doing this Work?

I had plans with WEPA to visit schools and run programming beginning in May. With the pandemic ensuing, we transitioned to a virtual format. We decided that rather than postpone, now was an optimal time to transmit our message. People are afraid, bored, lonely. These are dangerous states to be in when substance misuse is a pattern.

💕You can say that again. As a former addict, I can attest to that. Can people join or support your efforts? If so, how?

Please join us. We would love to have you. Follow us, friend request us, direct message, tag, comment, like, reach out! Our Instagram and twitter are @JubilantWEPA and the following is a link to our Facebook:

💕What tips would you offer for those that may find themselves struggling through these tough times?

Get active and stay active. Then take a break when you need one. Find balance. Find creativity. Help someone else find those things. Live in gratitude; Gratitude is an action word. When you’re down, share about it, when you’re up, share about it times 100. Spread the joy, help others find theirs.

💕I like that “Gratitude is an action word.” Thank you, Marissa, for your time. Finally, what is something you learned about yourself during this time?

I learned that I possess incredible resilience. I am creative and driven and capable. In some sense, I always knew these things, but I guess I have spent a long time in doubt.

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