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Delta Burke Wants to Be the "Face of Depression"

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Feb. 21 2008, Published 6:47 a.m. ET

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A month after voluntarily checking herself into a hospital for psychiatric treatment, Delta Burke opens up for the first time about her diagnosis, progress and her lifelong battle with depression.

The 51-year-old tells Entertainment Tonight she first noticed her symptoms at the age of 13, though she recalls having anxiety even in kindergarten. Her dependency on multiple drugs over the years eventually caused even more problems, which was what propelled her to seek treatment last month.

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"I was on five different kinds of medication," she says. "After a couple of years the meds stopped working. I needed an adjustment under a physician's care. I was being proactive. Now I'm on two medications."

Delta was diagnosed with double depression, which she compares to "two scoops of ice cream." Her darkest moment came years ago during her days on Designing Women, she admits.

"It was a very desperate time," she says. "I was parked in the car in the Hills with a gun and a bottle of Xanax beside me, trying to recover from harsh words said in the tabloids. I just wanted the pain to go away."

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Despite the gun, Delta insists she would never consider suicide. "I didn't want to die. If I ever really wanted to be dead, I'd be dead."

Along with depression, the actress also has an obsessive-compulsive disorder, causing her to become a huge packrat.

"At one time I had 27 storage units," she says. "I don't have a big enough house! My mom had it, it's my mother's fault! She saved the diaper I came home from the hospital in!"

As she continues to recover, Delta wants to let everyone know why she's sharing her story.

"I want people to pursue mental help the same as they would pursue physical help, like cancer," she says. "I will be the face of depression."

For more on Delta, tune in to ET tonight!

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