I've had the game for a few months and I still feel overwhelmed. any idea on how to properly learn to play?
A good chunk of it is just playing it until you're comfortable and have experience with what most everything does. May I suggest my custom map that prevents the AI from reaching you, so you can just explore and play around at your own pace?
If you're beyond that kind of thing, how fast are you expanding early on? Letting another player get more planets than you is a sure way to fight an uphill battle for the rest of the game. Eventually you'll want to start using the "Double Colonization" technique, where you start with both a colony cap and a colony frigate so you have two task forces that can colonize planets in two directions.