Dear Oracle, I have a problem with constantly feeling overwhelmed. It’s something that I’ve dealt with my entire life, though I feel like I was better at managing it in college and when I was a younger adult. Now, as an adult with more responsibilities, I feel like I can barely handle what’s considered a “normal load” of things. I like my job, like my hobbies, so it’s not that. It just feels like everything is always happening at warp speed, and I have difficulty keeping up. I have ADHD, and I know that plays a factor in it, but do you have any advice on feeling less like a hamster on a wheel?—All Work And No Play Makes Jane Cry in The Bathroom A Lot
Cards: Waxing Gibbous, Knight of Swords reversed, Knight of Pentacles.
Dear Sweet Jane, I’m so sorry that you’re feeling overwhelmed, and if it’s any comfort to you, I think a lot of us are feeling that way, myself included. However, before I get into the cards, I want to mention that as a fellow member of the ADHD tribe, feeling overwhelmed is a common symptom of our condition. For adults with ADHD, sensory processing disorder—when our senses are literally overwhelmed—is very typical. Mix that in with rejection sensitivity and emotional dysregulation, and you got yourself a case of chronic overwhelmedness.
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I bring these medical issues up because if you see a psychiatrist for your ADHD, you should talk to them about these symptoms. I am not a doctor of any kind, so they be able to offer medication to help it.
Now, metaphysically, we have three cards that all deal with chaos in some way. First, the Waxing Gibbous is a time to reevaluate plans. Do you put too many things on your to-do list? Do you neglect some of your basic needs (eating, sleeping, showering) to get everything done? If so, take some non-basic needs off your to-do list. Maybe don’t finish the whole book for book club. Maybe do a 10-minute workout instead of a 30-minute one. Give yourself time to decompress and, ideally, get bored.
Because that Knight of Swords is all intellect, and it’s galloping at a million miles per hour. Your brain is breaking the sound barrier when it comes to speed, and you’re probably burning yourself out. So you have to ground yourself, you live wire.
The Knight of Pentacles is also riding a demon horse from hell, but he’s calm amongst the chaos. He waits for his bucking bronco to calm down before forging ahead. What helps you feel grounded? Is it a routine? A run? An alarm that reminds you to eat dinner?
Adapt to your days. Sometimes, you’re going to be overwhelmed, and there’s no pushing forward, and sometimes, with a grounding break, you might be able to get back at it. Listen to your body and brain and talk to your doctors about this. Remember, one step at a time. Best of luck, my dear.
Dear Oracle, I have a friend, “Hannah,” who I love dearly. She’s smart, funny, the KINDEST person in the entire world, and incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, like a lot of smart, beautiful women, she dates absolute jerks. Some dudes have been BAD, but most just suck and are kind of fuck-ups. Hannah falls in love quickly, but when things go south, she spends forever deciding whether or not to break up with them...which means hours-long conversations on the phone, or when we hang out. I feel bad saying this, but I’m exhausted. She has the same pattern and, while I don’t want to turn my friend away, part of me just wants to slap her and say, “STOP DOING THAT!” Am I a terrible friend? If yes, what can I do to be a more compassionate friend and listen? Should I just tell her, “stop dating losers?”—Ella Exhausted
Cards: Three of Cups, Seven of Cups reversed, Eight of Swords
Dear Ella, I literally moved across four states to date a man because he had a job, a dog, and a car note he paid on time, so I sympathize with Hannah. It’s hard out here for a single girl, and if you’re in a lousy pond, there can be some gnarly fish hanging around. But I also sympathize with you. It’s hard to watch people we love make decisions that hurt themselves, and it doesn’t not make you a bad friend for wanting to pull a Cher in ”Moonstruck” on Hannah—it just isn’t good if you actually do that.
With the Three of Cups, it’s clear that you love Hannah. You’re a grounding force for her, and there is joy in your relationship, not just unpaid therapy sessions.
But you do watch her make a lot of destructive choices (Seven of Cups reversed) and deal with the depression of that fallout (Eight of Swords). I don’t think it’s terrible to tell a friend that you’re worried about her or to speak up about red flags if you see them. But if you’re going to be honest, you need to be tactful. It serves no one to be cruel or judgmental, and if you are, you could alienate Hannah—which you don’t want to do if she’s in an abusive relationship.
I don’t know if that’s what you meant by “BAD,” but if so, that takes this from “annoying” to “dangerous.”
Encourage Hannah to seek a therapist, and set boundaries if you need—say a 15-minute phone call—but if she’s experiencing abuse, open communication can be a lifeline. Ask open-ended questions, offer solutions but try not to sound preachy about it. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline [800.799.SAFE (7233)] has information on their website about helping loved ones who are in those situations.
This is a very tricky conversation to have and I hope that if Hannah is struggling, she would feel comfortable to reach out to you.
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