One Woman's Journey With Bipolar II and Social Anxiety Disorder

Kimberly Lin Pollard is a success mentor who has struggled with mental illness.

Kimberly Lin Pollard is a success mentor helping entrepreneurs tame the trolls of fear and doubt so they can get on with creating their visions of success. She shares her experience with bipolar II disorder and social anxiety disorder and offers advice to others who may be facing these diagnoses.

Please note, this article does not constitute professional medical or psychological advice.

The beginning

Despite feeling like she was always shy, Kimberly was told that she was very outgoing as a child. She started feeling shy in her teens, was bullied, and started to feel that something was wrong with her. By the time she was in her early twenties, she was having anxiety attacks, however did not recognize them as such.

No one understood what Kimberly was going through and she was basically given the message to “get over it” and stop exaggerating. She started questioning what was wrong with her, asking herself the questions, “Why couldn't I be normal? Why did I have such a hard time with something everyone was telling me was no big deal?”

She tried to fake being “okay,” pushing herself through situations that triggered her. Despite struggling with sleep, nausea, and a constricted throat and chest, Kimberly continued to push herself. “I couldn't risk messing anything up because then people would know something was horribly wrong with me.”

The Depression

Eventually it got harder for Kimberly to get out of bed, she withdrew from friends and family, stopped pursuing the activities that she once enjoyed, and always felt tired. In her words,

“My mind was a minefield of hurled insults and recrimination. I might as well have invited the bullies to move in with me, because their voices were with me constantly. I gave up. I just couldn't see the point in even trying anymore. I obviously sucked at life, why fight a losing battle?”

Thanks to television advertisements, Kimberly recognized her symptoms as depression. She went to a clinic and nervously explained her experience to the blank faced doctor on call who asked her how she expected him to help her. She felt wrong for having her experience, and slumped in her chair, responding that she did not know. He prescribed three months of anti-depressants, told her that she should start feeling better in four to six weeks, and sent her on her way. “I wish I had known to ask for a referral to a mental health professional, it would have saved me a lot of grief down the line.”

By the end of the prescription, Kimberly felt better, but her symptoms eventually started up again and were more severe. She started to struggle with suicidal thoughts and did not see the point in starting up treatment again. What kept her going was her son. She returned to the clinic, was given the same prescription for six months, and was put on a two year waiting list for a social worker.

The cycle continued and her symptoms did not go away.

The only way she could cope with the pressure of her experience was through self-harm. She would tell her boyfriend, but he did not know what to do. Her suicidal thoughts returned, she stopped eating and stopped sleeping. Her boyfriend eventually took her to the hospital, where she felt she hit rock bottom.

She was seen by a psychiatrist and psychologist and was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder and social anxiety disorder. She finally had appropriate treatment, learned everything she could about her diagnoses, grew a greater awareness about her mood cycles, and had desensitization treatment for anxiety. She started her recovery.

Most helpful for Kimberly

Kimberly notes that her support system has been most helpful for her in managing her symptoms. She surrounded herself with professionals, friends and family who help her when needed.

Where she is today

Today Kimberly uses all the knowledge she has gathered and the tools she has used to help others tame what she calls “trolls.” Fears, doubts, overwhelm and anxiety are not only experienced by people with mental illness. She loves helping others walk through those emotions to the other side, helping people grow stronger and more confident while creating their vision of a successful life.

“If I can go from needing to write out a script before picking up the phone and order pizza to running my own business, creating workshops, teleclasses and webinars, then anyone can.”

Her advice to others struggling with mental illness

“Don't hide, don't wait. Everything feels worse in the dark. It gets better, but you've got to seek out your support team to start figuring out what will work for you.”

Learn more about Kimberly and her services by visiting her website:

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