What can I do to improve?

I think I might have social anxiety. I know that socializing is important but sometimes I can go months without it and I feel happy and relieved. I barely even talk on the phone with family because I don’t know what to say people a lot of the times, and I have to practice what I’m going to say and usually I’m mentally timing how long I’m on the phone and thinking of ways that I can get off quickly. On the rare occasions that I am out and socializing, I sometimes just imitate what I’ve seen actors do in tv, because I don’t want to seem weird. If given the chance, I could lay in bed all day long and never go outside, and that scares me a little, how easy it is to live inside my own bubble.
Asked by Penelope

I am so glad you took the risk to reach out and ask for help.  

Social anxiety can be so debilitating.  It definitely seems like you are limited by the anxiety you are experiencing.  Have you wondered how your life would be different if you were not so anxious of being around others?  

I want you to know you are most certainly not alone.  Anxiety and depression is often considered the 'common cold' of mental health.   There are evidence-based treatments to help you reduce your anxiety and improve your ability to function around others and gain control over how you would like to feel.   Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment that can help alleviate those symptoms.

Often we tell ourselves something to produce the anxiety that we feel.  For example, I walk into a crowded store and I feel anxious and want to leave.  There is a thought that I have that informs me of what emotion I will feel.  Maybe that thought is, "If people see me they will make fun of me" or "If people talk to me they will know I'm not smart".   There can be so many 'hidden' thoughts that are distorted and truly effect how we feel.   When you learn to recognize the distorted thinking you will be able to reframe those thoughts into more rational thoughts that can then dictate a more positive emotion.  For example, you walk into a crowded store and you feel anxious, you ask yourself what you are thinking that might be producing that anxiety.  You realize you are telling yourself "If they notice me they will think I'm ugly, stupid, etc.".  That is a distorted thought.  Perhaps a more balanced and rational thought would be "I have walked into stores many times and it has often been a pleasant experience so I'm really thinking that the chances are pretty good this will be too".   That is a rather long but more rational thought that can replace the distorted thought.  The new thought can change how you feel to a more positive feeling.   

It would be important to have further discussion to fully assess what treatment options would be better suited to your specific needs.   I hear you when you say you would rather stay home to be away from people.  I wonder if that gets lonely for you sometimes?  You get to define what makes you truly happy.  I want to make sure you feel heard and you gain some skills to reduce that anxiety so that you can live your best life.