In 2004 Delta Burke jokingly described the clutter in her home as "looking like a crime scene." "It's just sick," she told the Alameda Times-Star. "You can't even walk around." But the situation, apparently, has become no laughing matter. On Feb. 6 the former Designing Women star told gossip site TMZ she had checked into a clinic seeking help for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and "hoarding."

A rep for Burke's husband, actor Gerald McRaney, tells PEOPLE that the clinic stay is nothing unusual for Burke, 51, long outspoken about her battle with severe depression. "It's something she does once or twice a year" to adjust her medications for conditions including depression, high blood pressure and diabetes, says McRaney's rep Henri Bollinger. (Burke could not be reached for comment.) "They eliminate everything and then monitor her as they reintroduce the same drugs, or new drugs."

Some colleagues were surprised to hear that hoarding, a condition in which people compulsively acquire and keep possessions, was a problem for Burke, who is known as an avid collector of antiques, including porcelain dolls, books and furniture. Designing Women producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason recalls that Burke "would tell us about her late-night calls to Home Shopping [Network]. We just thought it was a little eccentricity." Her fight with depression "was her main problem then. It broke all of our hearts because she really did suffer." David Kenin, an executive at the Hallmark Channel who worked with Burke as she shot the TV movie Bridal Fever last November, says Burke was "professional and so sweet to everybody. There was no indication that she was having a problem."

Bloodworth-Thomason has no doubt Burke will bounce back. "At her core she is very, very tough," she says. And with her candor, "she helps other people feel better about getting help."

  • Contributors:
  • Vicki Sheff-Cahan/Los Angeles,
  • Champ Clark/Los Angeles.