Exactly, you get nowhere by trying to translate from a foreign tongue back to English. Similar to your experience, I had studied Spanish for several years before it finally kicked in one night and I found myself dreaming in Spanish. Immersion in another language is necessary to eliminate that translation stumbling block. Let it flow in, don't overthink it
If you want a refresher course, listen to a Spanish novella on tv (soap). They speak clearly and it's easy to follow even if you don't get it all at first. These shows are even "soapier" than American soaps. The funny thing is their accents often don't match who they are playing. A Spaniard might be playing a Mexican. It's about like hearing an Englishman play a Southerner.