I have lupus and I have taken Lamictal. I don't take any BP meds anymore. I am not so sure that BP is truly MY diagnosis. It was the psychiatrist who told me I probably had lupus and to get it checked out. I had suspected that diagnosis for a number of years, and he was right on with the lupus.
Lupus will make you feel depressed and if you are BPII who spends most of their time depressed, this is a double whammy. What I have gotten down to was quite a personal revelation. At the start of a flare one of two things happen: I become suicidally depressed or hypomanic, but ONLY when I am about to flare. I don't think I am bipolar so much as really down with the lupus. I can't generalize and I would NEVER advise someone to stop their meds without dicussing it carefully with their doctors. This is ME, not everyone!
Since lupus often causes extreme fatigue, I'd ask carefully about any medication that makes you feel foggy or sleepy during the day. Lupus people have enough of this anyway, best not to add to it. Given that you have both of these illnesses, I'd tell you to treat the lupus as aggressively as you can. When you don't feel well, it is going to affect your mood and amplify the BP symptoms. I don't think it is the BP that is bringing you down, I think is the lupus. It is my belief that CNS symptoms are present earlier on in the disease than is widely thought and mood disorders are part of what happens.
DO NOT give up and DO NOT cold turkey your medications. If you don't have a good rheumatologist, GET ONE! If the one you find is not sympathetic or blames your problems on BP, get a different doctor. Likewise, a psychiatrist who blames your emotional ups and downs on lupus and not BP needs to be replaced. THese two doctors need permission to communicate and figure something out for you. A chronic lupus medication like prednisone can send you off the deep end (I nearly died from taking prednisone and another drug that interacted). A medication like Plaquenil might enhance your BP therapy, but you can't know this without doctors who are a team and working towards improving your quality of life.
I will say about lupus, I have had to really reassess my life and my priorities. I have had to try to distance myself from what is going on and try to analyze it. I "check in" with my emotional state about 4 times a day, and assess my physical sensations at least that often. I feel like a whiner when I type this, but if I don't check in, I'll miss something. I just make sure I can breathe freely because I am prone to bouts of pericarditis. I woke up with symptoms of that this very morning and promptly took some medication for it. Had I checked in last night when I should have, I'd have seen my red red cheeks and taken something for fever more quickly. My mood is one of frustration and withdrawal today, so I am checking in more frequently. I have communicated to my family that I am not feeling very well today and being quiet helps. THEY are not especially quiet, but I am. If I communicate this to them, they don't worry and they go about their lives without worrying about me, which they do too much of in general. You just have to know yourself well enough to read your own signals and feelings. It has taken a lot of effort, but it has paid off with much shorter flares and fewer negative thoughts about yours truly.
Hang in there and feel free to email me off the list.
Oh and umm, lupus is not inherited per se, but having a close family member with autoimmune disorder increases your chances of developing one. BP CAN be inherited, but isn't always.
The Lady Dragonfly
Yes, it was me...I know because I was there when I did it. Lupus sufferer, bipolar II sufferer. Currently on Indocin for chronic pericarditis related to lupus, and cherishing every deep breath without pain. Currently in graduate school for mental health counseling, class of Fall 2007. Vegan and loving it!