Walnut Creek, CA — Area introvert and agoraphobia sufferer Benton Camen hasn’t been out of this South Main Street apartment in over a week. The 34-year-old Walnut Creek native has lived his entire life largely alone due to his crippling fear of people and “anything outside.”
“It started back in High School. I guess when I hit puberty, is when it started happening,” said Mr. Camen reflecting on his angst-filled teens. “And then it just got worse. I could only take night classes at DVC [Diablo Valley Community College] and thank god online learning started to happen, or I wouldn’t have been able to get that English degree.”
During the day, Mr. Camen makes a sparse living editing online articles and some side Adobe Photoshop work.
“It’s enough to pay the bills, but not much more,” continued Camen.
However, earlier this year, during a weekly Skype call with his mother, it came to him.
“My mother is always nagging me about how skinny I am. And that’s because I have nothing to eat in the house. Even though Whole Foods is right down the street, if you’re not willing to go outside, it’s hard to keep the ‘frig full. So that’s when I knew I could write the ultimate diet book.”
Using Fear to Lose Weight was released in August and has shot up the bestseller list twice and provided Mr. Camen with a comfortable living for the first time in his life, although he’s still not going outside any time soon.
“A lot of things have changed. For example, I can afford to have my groceries delivered now, which means I’ve put on weight. Needless to say, my Mom is happier. Anyhow, I’m including this development in an updated version Using Fear coming out in January.”