In a Songfacts interview with Christopher Hall
, he told the story behind this song. "It was after we had success with 'What Do I Have To Do?
' and 'Shame,'" he said. "We had a song on our record [Wither Blister Burn & Peel
, 1996] called 'Sleep,' which was a song about a girl who had been molested, and what she did to try and deal with it on a nightly basis. That song touched a lot of people that had similar experiences. They all reached out to me at shows, in letters, and in email, which was just starting to become a thing back then. They all had these tragic stories.
I just felt like everyone was looking to me for some sort of answer, because not only did we have 'Sleep,' but we had songs about mental illness and depression and dealing with hard times and loss and things like that, and everyone thought that since I had written these songs that I had found the answer. I hadn't. That's what 'Save Yourself' is about. I know nothing. I'm right there with you, feeling the same things you're feeling. You have to figure it out for yourself.
At the time, it felt like a selfish song, like, 'I can't help you, sorry.' But I was trying to help them by saying only you can help yourself."