if only my brain had windows…

The screens are in. Fresh air is flowing throughout my well loved house. Dog hair dust balls tumble in the mellow breeze that carries the scent of lilacs up through my bedroom window. That same breeze keeps the bugs at bay while the sun ignites the freckles on my skin.
The grass is storybook green. The sky is Tiffany blue.
These are the days. And they seem to go on forever.

Late spring in Maine is like a fairytale…a lovely classic New England existence. I am beyond fortunate to be living it with two goofy dogs, two smart, strong and healthy kids and a loving husband.
So why doesn’t my brain get the memo?

Last night all my stressful and scary dreams appeared…all muddled together. I slept restlessly and when I did reach r.e.m, my dream state made me nervous, sad and self conscious. Snakes, unrequited love and academic failure were prominently featured in my nighttime hours and I wish today they would go back into the dark corners from which they crept. If only I could air out my brain, let all the overthinking and shameful memories fly away and allow just the present beauty to remain.

It’s been an issue all my life. There are times I feel I’ve conquered the overwhelming weight of past insecurities and embarrassing incidents. But they always find a way back in. While laughing on the surface, this dark cloud has crowded my brain for as long as I can remember. Even in times of pure joy I’ve heard a nagging voice that won’t let my mind fully release into the moment. A nasty little tap on my shoulder that tells me I am not worthy to enjoy a worry free life.

It took me years to recognize that not everyone was burdened this way. I didn’t realize that people could live easily in the moment, wake up happy on a daily basis and not obsess for the second/third/hundreth time over a simple comment that might have been taken the wrong way. After several panic induced visits to the ER when my first child was born, I finally found a kind doctor who suggested I was dealing with depression. The more I read about it, the more I researched, the more I felt…the more I realized that maybe I didn’t have to live with the constant sadness and anxiety that I had tried to push away all my days. Maybe there was a way for my brain to relax, to move forward, to be free.

I wish I could say lightness came in and swept away all worries and hurtful memories. But it doesn’t work that way. The reality is that this is a constant battle. But one I now know I can handle. One that will come and go without warning. Will ebb and will flow. But eventually will pass…for a while.  It’s nothing to feel shame about. In fact I find strength in sharing with others. Knowledge is power. I believe that life is to be lived to the fullest…with love and joy breaking through the melancholy and with work, eventually taking over.

So today I am focused on forgetting those dreams of last night. Embracing this new day, making a conscious effort to let the sun warm my face, to allow the soft summer breeze to clear my cluttered mind. Even if just for a moment. It will. And I will thrive in that moment. Knowing there are many more to come.


spring (1)



  1. Nancy Simonton

    how beautifully said Marlies – and as you know, i have the same struggle – walking down our road each morning, i see all the beauty around and marvel that i’m fortunate enough to live here, know the friends i know, have a wonderful husband – yet my doldrums return again, sometimes due to situations, like now w/work stuff, other times there’s no apparent trigger.
    love you much for sharing & giving so much of yourself.

  2. Martine Zwolsman

    For me your story is so recognizable. It is as if I wrote this, but I couldn’t write it so eloquently. Foto rhe periode of twenty years a had periode of severe depression. It was so servere that I didnot came out of the house. Since I have medication I learned to live again. Several times I wished that I could stop my brain to worry. Nowadays I have als life and I am happy. Despite that I cannot have much stress in my life…

    Just wanted this to share this with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *