Tried many methods but the issues would still persist after 2 months of struggling. The only solution I currently have is installing DisplayFusion software, since this issue appears to affect those with multiple monitors, as this software recommends disabling 'share taskbar on all displays' but adds the DisplayFusion taskbar to the other monitors instead. I didn't realize this bug was tied to having multiple monitors and having 'Share taskbar on all displays' enabled until an hour ago. This is just a band-aid fix but it finally works after rebooting multiple times.
I actually had this software installed the whole time until I uninstalled it 3 months ago and was trying Start11 software, thinking that software was the issue. The main reason why I uninstalled DisplayFusion initially was the taskbar wasn't as smooth opening in comparison to the built-in taskbar, since I'm running my monitors at 144hz. I'm sure there is other software like this but I personally had this for years.
Temporary fix only - next time I reboot the computer same old issue with taskbar / start menu disappearing or frozen or no icons at all. Windows 11 is so broken - it is not worth installing. It is a DUD