BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA) -- An Aberdeen, Maryland soldier who went AWOL (Away Without Leave) two years ago has decided to turn himself in.
Army Specialist Catalino Rodriguez says he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD and major depression. He has emerged from hiding in his mother's basement.
"it's a nightmare. A two year nightmare. I don't want to do this anymore," he said.
A HELPING HAND: Veterans Affairs' Website On PTSD
A CLOSER LOOK: Military.com's page on PTSD
MORE RESOURCES: The PTSD Alliance
He said he fell into a dark place after a 15 month deployment as a combat medic in Iraq.
He further spiraled into mental illness when he learned he would be deployed to Afghanistan.
"I felt the demons that were in my head," he said. "I felt I was not prepared to go to Afghanistan. Being a medic, I was fearful of my personal demons getting in the way in how I would treat a battle buddy."
He sought help, but he says the military's solution only masked the problem.
"The only thing they gave me was medication, medication, medication," Rodriquez said.
Tod Ensign is helping Rodriquez. He's the director of a veteran advocacy non-profit organization that's based in New York called Citizen Soldier.
"What does this say about Walter Reed?," Ensign said. "He's serving in a U.S. Army hospital, the principal hospital in this country, and the caregivers there can't respond to his needs. It's not ill will, it's that they don't have the resources."
Reports reveal a staggering 300 thousand troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from symptoms of PTSD.
Rodriguez faces court martial, five years in prison and the loss of pay and benefits. The best case he says, is to have a honorable medical discharge so he can keep the benefits.
Rodriguez hopes by surrendering, he can convince others to come forward and get help.
Wednesday afternoon, within the gates of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Rodriguez is escorted by officers. He is fearful of what may come but has resolve.
"What I really wish that would happen even if I do jail time, I just want treatment. I just want to get my mind back. I just want to be normal again, to live in society."
In the meantime Rodriguez will be held at Walter Reed's barracks until the military legal system decides on the case.