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Award-Winning Journalist Thomas Ricke Releases New Book Lucky to be Alive

CHICAGO, Feb. 24, 2021 -- Thomas Ricke was Senior Vice President of Kraft Foods before he became unemployable, suicidal and nearly homeless. Corporate jets, country clubs and White House visits were replaced by locked psychiatric wards and electric shock treatments.  

The newly released book, Lucky to be Alive: My Remarkable Recovery from Suicidal Madness, is a memoir of Mr. Ricke's long battle with manic depression and its main symptom, suicide.  Seventy percent of patients with manic depression try to kill themselves. Twenty percent are successful.  

Mr. Ricke survived three suicide attempts—two of which put him into deep comas. His son Mark, who also suffered with manic depression, died after hanging himself in his bedroom closet shortly after his 16th birthday. 

Mr. Ricke achieved significant success before manic depression ruined his life.  He began his career as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Then he became the chief speechwriter for the Governor of New York, an editorial board member of the New York Daily News, and a vice president of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. He entered the corporate world as the Director of Communications for Philip Morris Companies Inc. His last corporate job was Senior Vice President of Kraft Foods. 

After symptoms of his mental illness caused him to lose his position at Kraft, he spent the next 25 years living a life of profound loss.  He lost his son to suicide and his wife of 22 years to divorce. He also lost his ability to work full-time. Mr. Ricke could not function normally.  His doctors and family believed he would spend the rest of his life in a state institution or—worse—end up living on the streets.

Instead he began a slow recovery. Mr. Ricke took every prescribed medication and followed every suggestion from his psychologist and psychiatrist. He worked at menial part-time jobs. He lived by himself. He was very lonely and sad, but, no matter what, Mr. Ricke never gave up. 

Eventually he improved enough to lose nearly all of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Today he is retired and living a fully functional life in the Chicago area. According to his doctors and other mental health experts, Mr. Ricke's recovery from severe mental illness is very rare, "one in a million."  

The book, "Lucky to be Alive" by Thomas Ricke, is available as an e-book or hard copy in Kindle at

Editor's note --Additional information about Mr. Ricke and his book (including an interview) can be found at  

Contact: Tom Ricke   224 627 2371; [email protected]

SOURCE Lucky to be Alive

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