Cerie Bullivant breached several parts of the control order
A nurse under a control order absconded because its restrictions "destroyed" his life, the Old Bailey has heard.
Cerie Bullivant, 25, of Dagenham, said that when he went on the run with two brothers in May he did not know they were related to a convicted terrorist.
A control order - a type of house arrest - can be placed on people suspected of terrorism, but Mr Bullivant denied any such activities.
"I had done nothing wrong and... I wasn't a terrorist," he said.
Mr Bullivant, of Donne Road, denies seven counts of contravening an obligation under a control order.
Under the terms of that order, he had to report daily to police and surrender his passport. He went missing in May but turned himself in in June.
Jurors are being asked to decide if he had a "reasonable excuse" to breach the order.
Mr Bullivant was studying for a degree in mental health nursing at the Havering campus of South Bank University but said the control order conditions did not allow him to study or attend a work placement.
He also said it was having a "bad effect" on his ill mother, and that his relationship with his wife had "collapsed".
"Everything that was important to me, everything that I'd worked at building up, every chance and attempt that I'd tried to make to start up a new life for myself was systematically taken apart by this control order.
"I didn't see another option, how this was going to get any better.
"I had no idea why I was under a control order. The only idea I had was that I had done nothing wrong and that I wasn't a terrorist."
He described absconding as "probably the worst decision of my life and it was a decision taken in desperation."
He told the court he had absconded with two other men under control orders, Lamine and Ibrahim Adam, but denied knowing their brother Anthony Garcia was a convicted terrorist.
Garcia is serving life imprisonment after being convicted in April over a plot to target the UK with a fertiliser bomb.
The case was adjourned until Tuesday.