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  • Lily Trabold

Intuitive Introvert

Intuitive introvert; the honor I possess for this self-proclaimed trademark rests deep at my core. Now, it is my fuel that wakes me up elated to dive into the complexities of human behavior, human motivation and human intricacy. But, it certainly didn't start off that way.

*Cue* little 6th grade Lily throwing away her school lunch and hiding in the bathroom stall, wishing those 42 minutes of forced socialization away. You aren't wrong, my struggle with social anxiety was the definition of self-inflicted. But for me, it was unbearable. It drained the joy out of social opportunities. It left me empty from the tug-of-war expectations, a sense of "failure" as the ultimate people pleaser and exhaustion from the perceived obligation to always display the extroverted, "I really am so happy to be here" face.

My introspection has always been one of my strengths. I am a feeling person and inside, I knew forcing this facade was unsustainable. My solution? Avoid. Avoid avoid avoid. Because avoiding the conversation/the situation/the outing until the very last moment would lessen the disappointment and solve my problem? Right... But just as any learned behavior does, the more I flexed the muscle, the more it intensified. Before I knew it, avoidance was the only way I knew how to handle anxiety. I bottled it, pretended I could handle it, and last minute, I would resort back to my people pleasing disposition, feeling an obligation to maintain the pawn version of myself. Little did I know how the misalignment of self and chronic stress would manifest in my physical body.

Fast forward 11 years, and here I sat, twenty-two year old Lily, deep into application process for occupational therapy graduate school. I remember being so insanely excited to dive back into a student role surrounding human wellness. But, I knew something was wrong. I was losing weight by the day, my hair was falling out, my stomach was a complete mess, I was approaching two years without a menstrual cycle, my brain was mush and it was becoming difficult to even muster up a conversation with Mom. Now, I can recognize these symptoms as my body's way talking to me, asking me to PLEASE stop and listen. However, as the go-getter human I am, I found myself sitting with a dear friend once again: avoidance. Several doctor visits later and it was clear to me - I had dug myself into a deep hole. I was not okay, but I would be. I just needed to fix myself first. And life will have it, the only way out was through. Pulling my applications came with inevitable resistance. But, this pivot forced me to stop in my tracks, face the realness, and sit with the uncertainty. For once, I didn't have the choice of action vs. avoidance. And it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

I entered my gap year of uncertainty. Early on, I was gifted one doctor, who welcomed me with kindness and altruism. She saw me as a whole human, she stepped outside the box, she asked the tough questions and she observed me from different angles. She saw me for me, she gave me raw perspective, she gave me answers and more than anything, she gave hope. She helped me cultivate a healing mindset and she helped me understand how my experiences had translated into my current state of being. She revealed the power of reframing adversity as the gateway for paying our gifts forward. Most significantly, she revealed how harnessing an unabridged worth in my identity would grant me with complete control over the creation of my story. What a gift she was, when I really did need her the most.

In my free time, I spent time within healthcare facilities, observing how other humans spent their daily lives serving the greater good. I observed the altruistic acts, the compassion, the advocacy and the willingness to be the listening ear. These opportunities shined light on the huge potential for growth in the space of individualized, client-centered care. I felt that burning passion return within and I wanted to better understand how, as a system, we can better foster a holistic approach patient care and support each patient's unique makeup. But, one observation ate at me - time and time again, our healthcare system seemed to glaze over the influence of significant early life experiences on health outcomes across the lifespan. Together, we were focusing so heavily on the here and now, targeting health maintenance through a sick care model. And this dug at me, knowing this approach had failed me. From my own journey, I now considered patient contexts, roles, actions and words to be essential components to understand the secret motives behind their patterned behaviors. Holistic intervention helped me understand so much about myself and allowed me to take responsibility over my circumstances. Every patient deserves that and as a result, I experienced a significant call to action.

And so, as silver linings tend to do - my gap year of uncertainty transformed into my gap year of evolution. I focused my time on healing, I tapped into my own body for awareness and it became clear: I had always had everything inside of me that I needed to thrive.

I became obsessed with asking the tough questions:

How can I use this challenge as my catalyst?

How can create a reality for myself that was infectious to others?

How can I transform my evolution of self into a voice of reason and hope for others?

How can I help others own their unique circumstances and utilize this as fuel to thrive?


Hi again - here I am, twenty-three year old Lily, applying to graduate school. But, this time, as a born-again, proud intuitive introvert. I can confidently say my healing and embraced way of being stems from my acceptance and celebration of my wholeness. This year taught me how to ignite my fire of worthiness, embrace my roots and appreciate how my unique disposition eloquently transcribed into the woman I am today. My journey of self-affirmation taught me the truth that the places we have our greatest challenges are in fact where we have the most to give. I learned that by adopting this duty, I establish the unbroken reminder that everyone matters and all we do can touch someone in unimaginable ways.

I am on a mission to transform healthcare world narrative. I believe in personalized care, I believe in human individuality and I believe we all have the most to give when we are functioning in our most authentic state of being. I am harnessed by the obligation to mentor others through identity shifts, self-celebration and the endorsement of life long learning to cultivate their wildest dreams.


I'll leave you with this:

Together, as humans, we occupy intrinsic propensities for goodness.

Each of us holds the capacity for goodness.

And through our own obstacles and triumphs, we are gifted with our individual identity.

It is our life mission to establish our identity, harness our goodness and translate this into our life story.

The best part? No one will ever be you. And that is your power.

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